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> Why is it important to stretch for runners? 10 reasons

Why is it important to stretch for runners? 10 reasons

Publish date 10.11.2022

You can read it in 8 minut 235 views

Why is it important to stretch for runners? 10 reasons

Surely you have heard or read many times about the importance of stretching. Some people don’t pay attention to it. They think it is a boring activity that can be skipped. You probably often think to yourself “I don’t need stretching,” or “I’m just wasting my time on it.”

In this article, I’ll show you that stretching plays an important role in every runner’s life and why it’s worth doing it and not skipping it. Think stretching exercises are boring and only waste your time? Why do we need to stretch? Should runners stretch? See 10 reasons why it is important to stretch and why you should include this activity in your training routine.

10 reasons why it is important to stretch

1. Increased range of motion

This reason is certainly not foreign to you. Stretching will indeed make you more flexible and willowy. Look at ballerinas or people who practice gymnastics. It’s with the right exercises (especially stretching) that they can do all sorts of figures. Even a simple split is the result of exercises that help stretch the body. 

How is it that the range of motion increases? Through the joint capsules, which produce more joint fluid during stretching exercises. This is what keeps cartilage from drying out and makes joints more flexible.

As you may know, running puts strain on your joints. After a long run, you may feel that your legs are heavy and stiff. To prevent this after a hard workout, it’s a good idea to do exercises that allow you to relax and stretch tense muscles. This will make you feel better, as the pain and stiffness in your muscles will not bother you. 

Many runners already feel during training that they may have soreness in their legs the next day. To negate this pain and to wake up the next day without a lot of pain, it is worth stretching. This will make recovery faster and you will regain mobility quicker. Be sure to stretch regularly to increase your range of motion. 

2. Avoid injuries 

Running is a sport in which injuries also happen. All it takes is an inattentive step, a misplaced foot, or overtraining for a tragedy to occur. No athlete wants this to happen. A more serious injury can put you out of running for up to several months. That’s why prevention is better than cure. 

You can avoid them if you are more flexible and supple. And this – as you already know from the first point will provide you with stretching exercises. Stretching strengthens joints and muscle attachments. Therefore, it reduces the risk of injury. 

This is one of those reasons why you should think about what you’d rather do – spend 15 minutes stretching and doing “boring” exercises, or get injured and be eliminated from running for several months. The choice is yours. 

3. Faster recovery after training 

Why is it important to stretch? If you want to recover faster after training. For professional runners, this is certainly very important. However, amateurs don’t want to spend another day in bed with sore legs after a run. That’s why you must incorporate regular stretching into your training. Believe me, it won’t take you much time. Spend at least 10-15 minutes, and you will see what effects such exercises have on recovery

When you run, your muscles shrink, so to bring them back to the right form and length you need to stretch. However, be sure not to overdo it and aggravate micro-injuries. What’s more, stretching increases blood flow, gets rid of harmful metabolites after training, and improves muscle function. 

4. You will prevent a variety of ailments 

Muscle contractures (which I mentioned earlier) can cause many other ailments, e.g. knee pain, and back pain. In such cases, it is sometimes difficult to accurately diagnose what is the real cause of the pain. This will only make you worry, and the situation may get worse. 

In such a case, it is worth trying stretching exercises. Believe me, I know what I am saying. I had pain in my shoulder and back, so I started to do stretching exercises after work (10 minutes). In a span of a few days of exercise, I felt relief. You must have in mind that this is not always the cause of your pain. Therefore, if basic exercises do not help consult a doctor. Don’t ignore it. 

5. Good running technique 

Should runners stretch? It is one of the main reasons why the answer is yes. If you’re a runner who already has the experience, then you surely know that good running technique is a must. Many beginners think that just moving your legs is enough. I can already tell you that no, it’s not enough. What’s important is how you put your foot, how you land, and how long your strides are. If you want to learn more about how to run click HERE

Probably while running you sometimes feel pain in your muscles or just feel like someone is pulling on your legs. That’s when stretching comes to the rescue. After all, how can you run with a good technique when you feel pain or pulling? Stretching will help you maintain proper running posture, which will make your running technique improve.

 And what should your running posture look like? Remember to have an upright posture, a long enough stride, and work your arms. 

6. Better breathing

Do you spend a lot of time in front of the computer? If so, do you pay attention to how you sit? Many people have back problems, precisely because of improper sitting positions. That’s why they have back problems and hunch over.

When hunching, the pectoral and shoulder muscles are contracted, and the interlobar and widest back muscles will be overstretched. This makes you unable to take a full breath. 

To change this you should start doing stretching exercises. What’s more, this will give your sore back great relief. And what effect does this have on running? During your workout, you will run better and your breathing will be calmer and longer. As a result, you won’t catch breathlessness as quickly. You will be able to run faster and longer. 

7. Better muscle development 

Did you know that stretching also has a positive effect on muscle development? Thanks to stretching, they will be able to grow. 

Why exactly do stretching exercises? Because they have the greatest effect on the muscles. What’s more, thanks to a varied workout, you won’t stand in the same place with your training. Be sure to change the exercises from time to time, so that your body does not get used to the stimuli affecting it. If this happens, you will not see the results of your workouts. Keep this in mind! 

8. Beautiful muscles 

Many runners start running to “make muscles”. During your workout, you shape the muscles of your legs, abdomen, and even your arms. However, not everyone cares about the same body part. 

This point especially applies to women. They think of a beautiful abdomen, but they want to avoid massive legs, which they can enlarge through training. 

Here stretching exercises come to the rescue again. When you perform them, you stretch the quadriceps of the thigh and the triceps pubis, making the muscles slender, which is sure to please the ladies. 

However, you need to keep in mind that the muscles will eventually appear and outline anyway. However, by stretching them, they will be more nicely defined and nevertheless slimmer than if you didn’t stretch at all.

9. Better performance while running 

Every runner wants to improve. And how to check it? Often by distance and time. As you have already noticed stretching has a positive effect on the range of motion, running technique, and breathing then the conclusion is simple – all this affects better performance while running. Not only will you be able to run longer and faster, but you won’t catch shortness of breath as quickly, and your stitch won’t tire you out as much while running. 

Therefore, add stretching exercises to your training and you will see for yourself how your results will improve. Remember, you should always be proud of yourself if you manage to improve your time or distance. 

10. Relaxation and calm breathing 

Surely you are exposed to many stressful situations throughout the day. I’m sure that for some, one of the reasons they started running is simply an activity that allows them to relax and forget about their responsibilities. 

Stretching has the same thing to offer. And why? Because stretching affects the vagus nerve, which then secretes more oxytocin. That’s why you’ll feel much better after exercising – you’ll be relaxed, and calm, and your head won’t be constantly thinking about what else you have to do

Regular stretching will also help you respond better to stressful situations in everyday life. Your muscles tense up. By taking care of regular stretching, these muscles will tense up less in such situations, and you will feel calmer despite the tense atmosphere.

Important information when it comes to stretching 

  • Don’t treat stretching like a warm-up – remember not to stretch cold muscles because it can lead to injury. Many people think that stretching can be a good warm-up, but this is not the case. It is better to do 5-10 minutes of warm-up, and only then do stretching exercises. However, the best option will be to do stretching after running, when the muscles are warmed up. 
  • Avoid pain – some people think that if you stretch it must hurt. It doesn’t. If it hurts, it means that you are pushing yourself too far. In this situation, go back to the point where you didn’t feel pain and hold. 
  • Hold your stretch – when performing a given exercise, stay in position for about 30 seconds. Then the exercise will have an effect. 
  • Keep the symmetry of the exercises – remember to always perform a given exercise on both sides. For example, if you first stretch one leg for 30 seconds, then do the same with the other leg for another 30 seconds. 
  • Regular stretching – always do stretching exercises after your workout, don’t skip them. Spend 10-15 minutes on them. 

I hope I have shown you why it is important to stretch. As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why it’s worth doing. Should runners stretch? YES! Add this kind of exercise to your training routine. 

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