Stretch to Success: Tips for Runners

Stretch to Success: Tips for Runners

After a long, hot and humid summer, we are all happy to welcome this change in weather. The crisper, cooler air often ushers people to get more active and spend more time outdoors. For many, they take to longer walks, going for a jog, or brushing off those running shoes and putting them to the pavement. But with increased activity comes the increased potential for injury. If you have an injury or are looking to prevent one, seeking the advice of an expert, like a physical therapist at Woman’s Center for Wellness, is always a good idea.

Many of the common injuries associated with running can be prevented and the risk of injuries can be lowered with a few simple strategies:

  • Always warm up & cool down. A warm up helps prepare the body for the increased stress of running. A cool down helps lower your heart rate while helping to flush your body of potential lactic acid build-up which can cause muscle soreness.
  • Stay Hydrated. Avoid dehydration and muscle aches by staying properly hydrated. It’s recommended to take in 6 to 8 ounces of fluids every 15-20 minutes of exercise.
  • Plan Ahead. Making a plan and sticking with it for training also helps to reduce injuries. Avoid adding mileage or increasing pace significantly during training and make changes gradually.
  • When in doubt, ice it out. If you experience aches and pains from a run, ice is a good first treatment step. Applying ice to the painful area for about 10 min will often reduce the irritation. If pain persists, talk to an expert.

Regardless if you’re an avid runner, a newbie looking to start or even just a charity running warrior, injuries can slow you down. One of the best ways to avoid running related injuries is to remain flexible, and the best way to do that is to stretch. Our experts suggest doing dynamic stretches which are not held, but rather performed with movement.  This type of stretch helps to prepare your muscles for the activity of running.  Each “stretch” should be performed in 5-10 reps:

Hip Rotation:  Begin by raising your leg in front of you and then rotate your hip out to the side as shown. Return to starting position and repeat 5 times.

Hip Ab/Adduction: Begin by gently swinging your leg out away from your body and then swing back in across your body. Repeat 5 times.


Hip Flex/Extension: Begin by swinging your leg behind you and then swing in front of you.  Don’t lift so high that you feel the need to bend your knee or torso too much.  Repeat 5 times.

Butt Kicks:  Stand with your leg perpendicular to the ground and then attempt to kick yourself in the buttocks. You may alternate sides while doing this.  Repeat 5 times on each side.

Basic Lunge: Lunge in place or lunge walk but be sure to keep your torso straight and your knee perpendicular to the ground.  Repeat 5 times.

For more information, contact a Physical Therapist at Woman’s Center for Wellness, click here.