Pre-running exercises help in increasing the blood flow to the muscles, reducing their stiffness and loosening them for better running, while post-running exercises help the body cool down and improve flexibility and performance, say experts.
Mithun Chakravathi, RunWestin Concierge at The Westin Chennai Velachery, lists some exercises for before the run:
* Hip flexor stretch: Stand tall. Flex your hip and knee to bring your right knee up toward your chest as you swing your left arm forward. Lower to the ground, then repeat on the other leg.
* Leg flexor stretch: Stand tall with your right arm forward. Bend your knee at a right angle in front of you, thigh parallel to the ground, as you swing your right arm back and left arm forward. Contract your quads to extend your leg straight out. Return to standing, then repeat with the other leg.
* Plantar flexor stretch: Stand with your hands on your hips. Raise your right foot a few inches, keeping your knee straight. Quickly flex your foot, pointing your toes upward. Return to standing, then repeat with the other foot.
* Hip extensor stretch: Hinge forward at your hips. Raise your right foot and bend your right knee in front of you while swinging your left arm forward as you would when running. From there, maintain the same lean as you quickly stretch your right leg behind you. At the same time, swing your right arm forward and your left arm back. Return your knee in front of you and repeat with the other leg
Vipin Banugade, Senior Physiotherapist at Sahyadri Hospitals, suggest some post-running exercises.
* Hamstring stretch: Keep your right leg just a little ahead of your left leg and place your hands on your hips. Now, with your right leg kept straight and toes facing up, bend your left leg. Bend forward towards your right leg with a straight back. Repeat the same with the other leg. This exercise helps you in relaxing your hamstrings after a good run.
* Lower back stretch: While lying on your back, pull your right knee to your chest and hold the position for about 15 seconds. Repeat with the other leg and then get both your knees to your chest and hold it for 15 seconds. This exercise helps you gaining more flexibility while running next and also helps you control your breathing.
* Calf stretch: After stretching your right leg forward, bend your front foot at the knee and keep your back foot straight. Keep your left leg straight while pushing your left heel to the ground. Keep doing this till you feel a stretch at the back of your left leg, right below your knee. Repeat the same with the other leg. This exercise relaxes your calf while making them more flexible.
* Thigh stretch: Pull your heel towards the left buttock by gently lifting the top of your foot behind you stretching the front of your thigh. Keep your knees together while doing the exercise. Take care while doing the exercise fall forward or sideways. Repeat the same with the other leg. This exercise strengths the thigh muscles while keeping improving your balance while running.