Basic Pre-Run Stretches to Help You Warm Up
You should always warm up your body with a light jog or brisk walk
Hi, I'm Cate Ganiere and you're watching About.com. While you should always stretch after a run, there is some debate whether it is needed before you go. Either way, you should always warm up your body with a light jog or brisk walk before stretching or running. During your stretch, make sure you don't bounce or push yourself too hard, as it can cause you unnecessary pain or even injury. And if you have any health problems or medical injuries, you should consult your doctor before doing any of these stretches. With that said, I'm going to show you some of my favorite stretches for running.To stretch your quadriceps, find something to hold onto with one hand for balance. Raise your opposite leg backward and hold your foot with your other hand. Slowly raise your foot behind you until you can feel some tension. For a deeper stretch, you can lean back. But make sure you don't over do it. Do this with both legs and hold the stretch for 30 seconds.While still standing against a fence or wall, balance yourself with your hands, while you move one foot backwards. This back foot should be able to have the heel resting on the ground. Only move back far enough to where you feel mild tension. Again, don't overstretch. Hold for 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg.The hamstring is located on the back of the thigh. To stretch this, sit down with one leg extended and the other leg bent for balance. If possible, reach to the toes with the hand on the same side as the extended leg and bend forward. If you are less flexible, use your hand to hold your leg as close to the shoe as possible. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch to the other leg.While sitting, pull your right leg close to the chest and bring your foot over your left leg. Turn about 45 degrees to the left. Hold this for thirty seconds and then switch sides. Don't neglect to stretch out any muscles in your upper body that you feel could use some loosening. One of my favorites is the side stretch. To do this, simply raise your hands in the air and interlock your fingers. Slowly move your hands toward a side until you feel tension and hold for 15-20 seconds. Again, stretch both sides equally.These stretches may be used to warm up, but they will be most beneficial after your run. Thanks for watching this video. For more information on stretching, read Christine Luff's article, "How to Warm Up and Cool Down," at About.com.