Running is a great way to burn calories, lose weight and get fit, and now that spring is nearly here, more and more people are dusting off their sneakers and hitting the ground running. I recently visited FOX 19 in Cincinnati to share some running tips and wasn't shocked with the anchor, Rob Williams, told me that although he's an avid runner (currently training for yet another marathon), he hates to stretch and usually ends up skipping it. I wasn't surprised, as I hear comments like that from exercisers on a regular basis. Usually when I teach a class, people start to leave when I start to lead the stretches, eager to get on their way now that the workout is over.
A lot of people avoid stretching, either because they're not sure what to do, they don't think it matters, or they simply feel like it's a waste of time—they just want to get going with their workout. They couldn't be more wrong! Everyone should stretch, and runners should take special care to maintain flexibility in specific areas of the body in order to run stronger and injury-free. That's especially important if you're new to running and want to start your training program on the right foot.
So, should you stretch before or after your run? What stretches should runners be sure to do?
Watch my 3-minute news segment to find out.
What I didn't have time to share in that segment was a great stretch for the piriformis. Runners should take care to include all four of these stretches after each run, in addition to the basic stretches you may already do for the calves, hamstrings and quads. For a complete stretching routine for runners that includes all of these moves (with detailed instructions), check out my 10-minute stretching video for runners or this printable routine. And for more training tips—including the best yoga poses and strength training moves for runners—be sure to visit SparkPeople's Running Center at www.sparkpeople.com/running.
Do you tend to skip stretching? Do you have a favorite stretch that really benefits you?
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