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Our Leeds based Sports Therapist Rachael Harris wrote a blog in Januarys edition of Women’s Running magazine. The blog explains the advantages and disadvantages of stretching before and after running.

Stretching.

One of the most keys parts to running is applying the use of stretching. As much as you might be raring to get running, stretching significantly reduces the chance of sustaining an injury obtained during running. Here are some simple examples you can do to help you get warmed up before your running endeavour.

A warm-up does not have to be a complex routine. It can consist of a short 5 minute walk or very gentle jog. But what is the purpose of a warm-up? A warm-up gradually increases your heart rate as well as increasing the flexibility of your muscles. A benefit of stretching is that is can simply be performed anywhere at anytime – with no specialist equipment needed.

However, there are also some minor disadvantages to stretching. Research has found that static stretching can reduce the ability to generate any type of force.

But what is the difference between dynamic and static stretching?

Well, dynamic stretches are stretches that involve movement of the joint through the range of motion. They are slow and controlled and prepare yourself well for the activity you are about to perform.

Static stretches on the other hand involves stretching a muscle group to the near the furthest point it can go and then holding this position for usually 30 seconds.

Here are a few examples of running specific stretches:

Hamstring Stretches – focusing on the back of the thigh, this is a part of the leg and the muscle that is very susceptible to injury and an area that is easily damaged when partaking in running. Lie on your back and bend one knee. Bring the other leg towards you and grab the back of the leg with both hands while keeping the straight for around 30 – 60 seconds, repeat this 2/3 times.

Quadricep Stretches – focusing on the front of the thigh, stand up straight and grab your foot bringing it back towards your buttock. You should feel a tight strain, holding this position for 30 – 60 seconds is a brilliant way to prepare your legs. Repeat this 2/3 times on each leg as needed.

Calf Stretches – there are two muscles that make up the calf – the gastrocnemius and the soleus. These muscles are vital to warm up in order to prevent and running related injuries. To complete this stretch, take a step forward with one leg and keep your back leg straight. You will feel a stretch in the muscle belly of the calf. Hold this for 30 – 60 seconds and repeat 2/3 times.

I hope that this blog from women’s running magazine has offered you some advice on the benefits of stretching before and after running. If you have any further questions regarding this topic or anything else, head over to our contact page – here.

By Rachael Harris Bsc Msc