7 Best Stretching Exercises For Runners Before Bed
Whether your next run is a marathon or just an easy jog around the neighborhood, stretching remains a crucial exercise. Stretching after a run can help prevent injury by increasing your flexibility and reducing muscle soreness. Plus, stretching before bed can help you fall asleep faster after your workout.
Here are seven stretches to do before you hit the hay that will help you get out on the road ready to run in no time:
Best Stretching Exercises For Runners Before Bed
1) Standing Quadricep Stretch
Stand with a straight back, feet hip-width apart. Bend your right leg and place your left hand on a chair or bench. Keep your back straight and bend your leg behind you. Hold for 30 seconds before repeating with the other leg.
2) Towel Quadricep Stretch
If you're trying to stretch your quads, start in a seated position with your hands on the floor in front of you.
- Lay down on your chest, resting your head and upper body on the floor.
- Bend your leg and bring it towards your back.
- Gently pull down on the towel to increase the stretch across all of the muscles in that area (not just in front). Relax for a few seconds at each point of tension before releasing again. If needed, repeat for more intensity or fewer reps if feeling fatigued.
3) Hamstring Stretch
This exercise is fairly straightforward. Here's how to perform a hamstring stretch:
- Place one foot on a chair or bench and keep the other leg straight.
- Lean forward and use your hands to pull your leg towards your chest, keeping it straight. Repeat on the other side.
4) Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Bend your right leg and place your right foot on the floor, then bend your left leg and place your left foot on the floor. Pull your right knee towards your chest and hold for 10 seconds before switching legs.
Watch the demonstration in the video below:
5) Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
- Kneel on the floor with your legs together, your hands on the ground in front of you and your weight shifted forward.
- Keeping your hips facing straight ahead, slowly lean back until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip flexors. Hold this position for 30 seconds to one minute before returning to a standing position.
- Repeat five times daily as part of a warm-up routine prior to running or other exercise activities.
6) Inner Thigh Stretch
To do the inner-thigh stretch, lie against a wall with your legs straight and arms at your sides (or behind you). Split your legs against the wall and hold for 15 seconds.
To avoid discomfort, support yourself with both hands against the wall instead of just one hand when doing this stretch. If you're not sure whether or not you're experiencing pain during this exercise, stop immediately and consult a doctor before continuing.
If you have knee injuries such as patellar tendonitis or iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), skip this particular exercise. It may aggravate them further due to its increased pressure on the knees.
7) Leg-Up Wall Stretch
The leg-up wall stretch is a great exercise to stretch your lower body and can be done before bed or in the morning. This easy exercise can also help you cool down after a run.
- Start by lying down in front of and resting your feet against a wall (you may want to remove shoes if they're stiff).
- Lie with your back straight and look forward while keeping your eyes level with the wall in front of you. Make sure that all of your attention is focused on lifting yourself up as far as possible.
- Once there, slowly return your right leg back onto the floor again until fully extended then repeat for the left leg.
Below is a visual demonstration:
Don’t forget to keep your stretching routine gradual and take care not to push yourself too hard. These exercises are simple and can be done at your own convenience in your bedroom. Remember, the best results will come from small, consistent efforts over a long period of time. Also, don’t forget about the importance of post-run recovery and how it can help you perform better next time around.