Streeeeeeeetch Often

Years ago I could wake up, put on my running gear and head out the door.  But today as a middle-of-the-pack runner in the 50-54 year-old division, that strategy doesn’t work.  I’ve learned over the years that I need to stretch often in order to reduce injuries.  The winter is actually a great time to get in the habit of daily stretching.  Most people spend more time indoors in the winter so you can stretch while watching TV, or just watching the snow outside.  The one trick is to warm-up the muscles a little first.  Even a 5 minute walk on the treadmill or just a few trips up and down the stairs to get the blood flowing will work.  Then start with easy stretches like squats and leg lifts, then move to more specific areas.  And don’t forget balance exercises like standing on one foot and doing knee bends on one leg.

Runners World has some good routines to follow that will you work all the right areas.  Check here: 

 http://www.runnersworld.com/topic/0,7122,s6-241-287-0-0,00.html.

Not only will the stretching help you run injury free, it helps protect from other non-running injuries from lifting or falling. 

Remember life is a marathon, not a sprint, so plan ahead.

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