Stretches for runners

Training Sessions: Beginning April 4, 2017, YMCA of Western North Carolina will be leading free trainings on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. starting at the Asheville Chamber (36 Montford Avenue). Trainings will last from 45-1 hour and are designed for people of all fitness levels. YMCA Healthy Living Coordinator and trainer Jesse Hyder provides a training program that prepares you for the Chamber Challenge whatever your  personal fitness goals are - from first-time walkers to active runners who want to improve. Training may include wellness tips, stretching, walking, running, etc. YMCA staff will address individual needs and give you tips and encouragement.

4 Tips for Runners

Finding a stretching sequence that serves your body is important for runners. A more flexible body is less injury prone, recovers faster, has a larger range of motion and allows for more gains in strength and endurance -- all important aspects to improve as a runner.

Stretching muscles prior to any physical activity is generally not advised. Before stretching walk briskly or jog for a few minutes first, then stretch again following your run. Here are four stretches that are beneficial for runners.

Walking Lunges
Step your right foot forward into a lunge making sure your front knee does not extend beyond your ankle. Your back knee should hover above the ground. Step your left foot forward to meet your right, then lunge your left leg forward. Repeat 10 times on each leg.

Leg Swings
For leg swings, you will want to stand firmly on one foot and swing the other foot from left to right until you reach full motion, about 20 times, then swing from front to back 20 times. Repeat on the other side. You'll want to hold onto something to help with balance, but make sure you have enough room to swing your leg.

Calf Stretch
Bracing your hands against a wall, stretch your left leg far behind you and place it flat on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds then bend the knee slightly and hold for another 10 seconds. Repeat with the right leg.

Standing Quadriceps Stretch
Start standing and bend your right leg fully, pulling it behind you gently with your right hand. Your right knee should point straight down and you should keep your foot flexed. Hold for 10 seconds, release and switch legs.

Tips provided by Lawrence Hines of Asheville Therapeutic Massage. Lawrence is a nationally certified massage therapist with over twenty years of experience and training in kinesiology and movement analysis.