Health

12 Best Running Stretches

Flexibility training is an essential component of a healthy running routine.

Regularly carving out time for flexibility exercises can help keep muscles flexible and maintain joint range of motion. If your joints can’t move through their entire range of motion, your muscles can’t either, causing them to shorten and become tight, according to Harvard Medical School.

In addition to being potentially uncomfortable, muscle tightness can limit your running performance and increase your injury risk.

“I emphasize flexibility training for runners because tight muscles can alter proper running mechanics, putting strain on joints and connective tissue,” says Ashley Castleberry, a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)–certified personal trainer in Tampa, Florida, who works with runners. “This greatly increases injury risk in an already-high-impact activity like running.”

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