Running exercises have two purposes.
With improved flexibility and greater range of motion, you are reducing
chance of injury. Let’s take the ankle as an example. An ankle with
limited range of motion is more prone to an ankle sprain. It can make
the difference if you ever hit a stone or stick the wrong way while
With running exercises, you could potentially just roll the ankle over in its range of motion instead of a bad twist. Thus by increasing the flexibility, you could turn without damage. No undue stretch of the muscles because they have that range of motion.
Another example is back pain from running. Running requires the use of your back muscles. You hold yourself up. As your back muscles get stronger and their counter muscles in your abdomen don’t get correspondingly strengthen, you get pain. So your abs are needed in running too.
The second reason I stated above was to improve overall fitness. Can you really call yourself a fit 50 plus woman if you cannot touch your toes? I think everyone should be able to do at least 20 push-ups. Really all you are doing is lifting yourself up, an ability we should all have.
Jogging is a great fitness exercise. However, it does not improve flexibility. This requires exercises. Here are the running exercises I use after running. For warm-up, I walk. I do stretching after the jog. Gentle stretching motion is used, not a bouncing action. Don’t try stretching cold muscles, do a warm-up first.
Click on any image below to view the picture gallery.
Standing holding leg up to stretch quadriceps, hold to count of 10. Repeat 3x for both legs.
Stretch side (no photo of this stretch). Stand legs apart. Raise right arm up and over your head, reaching over your head. Do the other side too.
Toe touch and ground touch with legs apart. Reach down to right foot, then center and then left foot. Repeat 10 times. As you become more flexible, you can reach past the feet.
Inside thigh stretch –sitting. Gently push down on your legs with your arms to feel the stretch. Hold to a count of five. Repeat 3 times.
Standing hamstring and calf stretch with legs straight.
Standing calf stretch with knees bent. Notice the different set of calf muscles you stretch when your knees are bent.
Tippy toe balance. Practice balancing on your tippy toes. Also works to strengthen your ankles.
Sitting hamstring stretch. Gently stretch to a comfortable hold. As you increase flexibility, you will be able to reach back farther.
Cat curl. This mimics the cat back stretch, gently stretching your back.
Push-ups. Work up to being able to do at least 20 full-length push-ups. The purpose is to be able to have the strength to lift your own body. The half push-up or “ladies” push-up is not one that I do. It is your body, big or small, so why not be able to lift the whole thing?
Sit-ups knees bent. To ensure you are using your stomach muscles and not your back, have someone hold your feet for you. Alternatively, you can tuck your feet under the couch to hold them down as you sit up.
Inside thigh stretches –standing. Take the pose as in the picture. Move your body downward to stretch the inner thigh. Do both legs.
Toe touch –sitting. Do 10 for both legs.
Calf stretch –sitting. When you are done the toe touch in the sitting position, pick up your leg and feel the stretch of your outside calf muscles with this one of the running exercises.
Sideways leg lift. Perform three sets of 10 lifts for each leg.
Sciatica stretch. Very important stretch for me to keep flexibility and avoid sciatica pain. This stretch is one that my chiropractor gave me to do as after running I often had pain start several hours later. Lift the leg while the knee is bent over the other leg. You should feel a stretch in the buttocks and along the outside of the leg. Repeat for other leg.
Ankle stretch. Point toes towards you. Point toes downward. Rotate ankle inward. Rotate ankle outward. These running exercises for your ankles can be done while watching TV with your legs up, thus providing more support.
Back stretch. Lift your legs over and back down as far as you can. As your flexibility improves, you will be able to go farther back.
Use plantar fasciitis exercises to prevent or as a treatment for inflammation of the plantar fascia.