Performing stretching exercises after a run will help you cool down gradually and improve your flexibility.
These stretches from physiotherapist Sammy Margo are best done after exercising, when your muscles are warm and more elastic.
Breathe deeply and regularly during the stretches. Aim to stretch to the point of feeling tightness or slight discomfort.
You should not feel any pain when doing these exercises. If you do, stop and seek medical advice.
Hip flexor stretch – hold for 15 seconds
Step your left leg forward, keeping both feet pointing straight ahead. Keeping your back leg straight and avoiding sticking your buttock out and arching your back, slowly bend your front leg and push your right buttock forward until you feel a stretch across the front of your right hip joint. Repeat with the other leg.
Thigh stretch – hold for 15 seconds
Grab the top of your left foot behind you and gently pull your heel towards your left buttock to stretch the front of the thigh, keeping the knees touching. Avoid leaning forwards or to the side. Repeat with the other leg.
Tip: place a hand on a wall or bench for balance
Hamstring stretch – hold for 15 seconds
Stand with your right leg just in front of the other and your hands on your hips. Keeping your right leg straight and toes pointing up, bend your left leg. Bend towards your right leg, keeping your back straight. Repeat with the other leg.
ITB (iliotibial band) stretch – hold for 15 seconds
To stretch your right ITB, cross your right leg behind your left leg. Keeping both feet on the ground, lean to your left side and push you right hip outwards. Don’t bend forwards or stick your buttocks out. You should feel the stretch along your outer right thigh and hip. Repeat with the other leg.
Calf stretch – hold for 15 seconds
Step your right leg forward. Bend your front leg and keep your back leg straight. Both feet should point forwards. Push your left heel into the ground, keeping your left leg straight. You should feel the stretch at the back of your left leg, below the knee. Repeat with the other leg.
Lower back stretch – hold for 15 seconds
Lie on your back with both feet flat. Pull your right knee to your chest until you feel a stretch in your lower back. Hold for up to 15 seconds and repeat with the left leg. Then pull both knees to your chest and hold for up to 15 seconds.
Buttock stretch – hold for 15 seconds
Lie on your back with your knees bent and both feet flat on the floor. Cross your right leg over your left thigh. Grasp the back of your left thigh with both hands and pull the left leg toward your chest. Repeat with the other leg.