1 hour power walk
1 hour massage by Jodie
As y’all may or may not know, I’ve been nursing a knee injury for
an eternity about a month now, and although it’s progressively
healing, I am now suffering pain and soreness in the calf muscle of the injured
leg. This is most likely due to an over-compensation of my muscles when I engaged in physical
activities. This is a common occurrence because the surrounding muscles near
the injury involuntarily prevent the injury from getting worse so, as a result,
the muscles work twice as hard (just my luck!).
Needless to say, I’ve had to back up from running and biking in order to rest my leg. During this time I’ve learned why stretching is so important. It has been determined that stretching before and after a run will reduce injuries, improve performance and avoid sore muscles. Whether this is true or not (there's mixed data on these facts), athletes have reported feeling better when they stretched because they felt warmed-up and more flexible.
For instance, stretching may improve blood flow and lubricate joints and muscles, which is why it helps to avoid injuries if you do it before a run. Flexibility is another added benefit of stretching. Research has shown that stretching can improve performance because your joints move more efficiently through an increased range of motion. Have you ever started a run without stretching and your body just feels awkward? That’s because your joints and muscles are not lubricated and warmed-up. Your chances of “pulling” a muscle increase because they are tight.
Stretching is not limited to just before and after a run. In my case, since I am already injured, stretching is also beneficial for me. Stretching will increase my blood flow and “wake up” my muscles. Massaging the muscle will also be beneficial for me since it’s an acute pain rather than a chronic one.
So what’s the best way to stretch?
Before a run: I usually perform dynamic stretches before a run. This type of stretching prepares the body for physical activity by enabling the body to be more flexible and smooth through a full range of motion. Studies have shown that dynamic stretches improves production and explosive power.
The stretches are held for about 3-10 seconds. The stretches include: walking lunges with and without a rotation, glute bridges, butt kicks, leg and arm swings, donkey kicks, Russian march, etc…
After a run: I usually perform static stretches after a run (when I remember-I’m guilty!). Static stretching is a bit different because it relaxes your muscles and lengthens them. These stretches are more passive rather than explosive.
The stretches are held for about 10-30 seconds and repeated 4-6 times. The stretches include: shoulder stretch, tricep stretch, side bends, hamstring, quad, calf and ankle stretch, etc…
Do you stretch before and after a run?
I am grateful for the knowledge
that I have gained from my injury.