Hey there! I’m Marissa and I blog over at Barefoot Colorado. Big thanks to Melissa for allowing me to chat with y’all while she is gone! Now, let’s talk stretching.
I’m sure most of you have heard the many benefits to stretching after exercise. If not I’ll play a wannabe Yogi expert and tell you about it now.
Benefits of Stretching:
- greater range of motion
- can prevent soreness
- may prevent injury (YAY!!)
- improves circulation
- can help develop ElastaGirl-like powers so you can fight crime with your Superhero family.
Okay, so I made the last one up. The rest is true though, and can seriously improve your performance as an athlete and runner.
Now that everyone is caught up on the benefits, it’s apparent that stretching is a key aspect to becoming a better athlete. Yet, how many of you actually do it? If you are like me, it’s hard to remember to stretch after a difficult workout. You mean I have to do MORE after I just ran 12 miles? If that conversation is one that you have frequently with yourself, I might be able to help.
When I was training for a half marathon, I would go out and do my long runs and come back not wanting to do anything else. After a few days of extremely sore and tight hips post long run, I realized that I needed to make stretching my lower body a priority.
Some downward dog in the backyard. Yay for sunny days!
Here comes the next kicker: Where do you start? With a million stretches floating around on blogs, magazines and the Internet, it can become overwhelming. I created a stretching routine to take the guess-work out of my post-run cool down.
Since starting my stretching routine, I feel less tension in my hips and more graceful while running ( I’m serious!). I recommend holding each stretch for 30-45 seconds. *Note: This is only a lower body stretching routine.
If you are unfamiliar with any of these stretches, I’ve included links to YouTube videos that demonstrate the proper techniques.
- The Flamingo
- Standing Outer Hip Stretch
- Rag Doll
- Downward Dog
- Calf Stretch
- Seated Hamstring Stretch
- Pigeon Stretch
I hope this routine will help to motivate you to stretch after your runs or workouts, even if you are tired. Oh, and it always helps to through some foam rolling in there as well 😉
- Do you stretch after exercising?
- What’s your favorite stretch?