As runners we like to run, so stretching seems to be this annoying waste of time with no real benefit. Well that couldn’t be farther from the truth; a good and consistent stretching program can save you a lot of trouble and keep you running when you might otherwise become injured. Along with training gently and choosing the right shoes, stretching is the most important thing you can do to protect your body from the rigors of the road. You'll also find that the benefits of stretching include reduced muscle soreness after running and even better athletic performance. However, to reap the benefits of good stretching it is imperative that it is done correctly. In correct stretching can actually cause injury rather than prevent it. Rule number one in stretching: don’t bounce. Bouncing puts your muscles at risk for pulls and tears due the stretch and relax nature of bouncing. The two stretches we concentrate on at RunFit Kidz are dynamic and static. Dynamic stretching is used as our warm-up because it helps to increases range of movement as well as blood and oxygen flow to soft tissues prior to the activity. Static stretching is perfect for the cool-down because it helps to lengthen our muscles while our body is at rest. When applying a static stretch it is important to hold the stretch for 20-30sec and it is fine to feel some tightness but you should never feel pain. Including these in your program will help keep your body healthy and injury free.
Warm-up: Choose 3-5 of the dynamic stretches listed below. Do each chosen stretch for 30sec and repeat 2x.
|Easy jog in place||Knee Hugs|
|High knees||Hip Circles|
|Butt kickers||Hip Openers and Closers|
|Jumping Jacks||Leg Lifts|
|S-jump rope||Side steps or Grapevine|
|Exaggeraed skipping or high skips||Bounding|
|Squats||Step single leg hop|
|Arm Circles||Arm Hugs|
Cool-Down Stretches: Static stretching is appropriate during the cool-down phase as the muscles are the most ready at this point to receive the most benefit from this type stretch.
Below are the areas that should be stretched during the cool-down. There are so many stretches for each of these muscle groups that it is too vast to list, but your kids should know a few and can help you along the way. Be sure to hold the stretch for 20-30sec.
|Calf incl. soleus and gastroc. ||Upper Body – shoulders, arms, neck|