Make Sure You Stretch

Exercising this afternoon? Don’t forget to stretch!

This article I read today, ‘4 Stretches You’ll Need This Season,’ caught my eye for two reasons. One, since I am starting to run regularly, I wanted any advice on the sport. Two, I love stretching, so I wondered if there were any new stretches I should be doing. Stretching is super important so you don’t get injured, which I think (hope) most people know.

Two of the stretches on there, the IT band stretch, and the hamstring stretch, I do religiously. The IT band stretch, or outer hip band stretch, I posted about not very long ago.

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My hip has been bugging me when I run, so I’ve been making sure to stretch it out and loosen things up. Part of my solution to this I think will be purchasing new running shoes. There are several variations to the hamstring stretch, but I find the one below to be most effective.

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Kind of a goofy picture, but it works. I will also sway from side to side or hold the stretch for each side.

The other two stretches they list I don’t do as often as I guess I should. This is the calf stretch….

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And the quad stretch.

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I don’t mean to say that I never perform these stretches, it just generally comes as an afterthought to all of the other ones. After doing Insanity, I learned a hip flexor stretch that has become one of my favorites, shown below.

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After holding this position, you’ll turn so that you are facing the opposite direction, with the opposite hand in the air, and repeat on the other leg.

They give two words of advice in this article:

  1. Don’t stretch cold muscles, warm up with a short jog first.
  2. Don’t stretch muscles that aren’t problematic for you prior to running. — I’m not sure about this advice, because I never thought stretching could be bad for you, but there it is. — But you do want to stretch problem muscles immediately after exercise.

So, there you have it. Stretch so you don’t have to take an injury vacation!
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Hope you have a fabulous Friday afternoon! Who has fun Cinco de Mayo plans?

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