Hello Runners and Walkers!! Welcome to the Yogi’s Corner! This column is dedicated to helping you stretch those muscles and tendons shortened by running, walking and similar exercises to allow greater ease of movement, freedom in your body, faster recovery time, and of course fewer injuries! As you know, running is a great way to burn calories, stay in shape and just have fun exercising. As you may also know, it is hard on muscles, tendons and joints. Adding a stretching and yoga routine of just a few minutes a day to your running regimen can counter negative effects of your beloved sport. We want you to have longevity in what feeds your soul!
Torrey Postal, E-RYT 200, attended her first yoga class at the age of 17. She found yoga fulfilled her need for the joy of movement without judgment or competition after leaving her background in classical ballet. Through this path, she discovered the many benefits of yoga beyond asana. She began teaching in 2003 and has been registered with the Yoga Alliance since 2004. Her favorite yoga saying is "yard by yard, yoga’s hard — inch by inch, it’s a cinch." You can find Torrey at Alive Fitness in Oro Valley.
Five Pre- and Post-Run Stretches
By Torrey Postal and Alive Fitness and Training Center, Oro Valley.
The repetitive forward motion of running can lead to tight hip flexors (front of hips), hamstrings (back of thighs) and iliotibial band that runs along the outside of the hip, thigh and knee. This tightness has the potential to cause low back tension and pain as well as knee pain.
Try these five poses as both a pre and post-run stretch to open these commonly tight areas of the body.
- Lunge — Stretches the hip flexors and calf of the back leg and strengthens the muscles supporting the front knee. Make sure the front knee is directly over the ankle; come onto fingertips to lengthen the front of the body and press through the back heel. Hold for 10-15 seconds.
- Low Lunge — is a deeper stretch of the hip flexors. Remember to breathe slowly and deeply with an emphasis on long exhales as the hips sink forward and down. Padding under the back knee can make this pose more comfortable. Hold for 10-15 seconds.
- Half Split — stretches the hamstrings. From Low Lunge straighten the front leg and move the hips over the back knee. Evenly push both "sitz bones" back. Now flex the front foot and lengthen the front of the body, pulling the sternum forward. Hold for 10-15 seconds.
- Reclined Twist — releases the back and stretches the outer hip, gluteals, thigh and knee. You may use a strap around the ball of the top foot or bend the top knee. Look over the opposite shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Hug the knees and rock side to side.