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If you’re at a desk all day, these stretches for runners will keep the blood flowing

For people who love to be active, a desk job can be disadvantageous. Not only does it limit your active time, but also creates muscle stiffness and lethargy. Runners, in particular, need to be agile and swift. Although you would warm-up before a run, long hours of sitting can still result in chronic stiffness and affect your form. All you need is a few minutes away from the computer every few hours. These 4 stretches for runners can help reduce muscle stiffness if you are sitting all day. 

Pro tip: if you have a foam roller use it correctly and avoid these mistakes.

Knee hug

This is one of the easiest and most satisfying stretches for most people. Lie down on your back. Make sure the surface you are lying on is firm. Bend both your knees and grab them with your hands. Gently pull your knees closer to your chest. With your back flat on the ground and your knees close to your chest, hold this position for about 30 secs. Then slowly lower your legs back to the ground.

You can repeat this stretch a few times. It doesn’t require too much effort and is easy on your muscles. This is a great stretch for the lower back and helps release the tension from these muscles. Pro tip: stretching is also a great way to speed up the recovery process after your long run.

Forward fold hamstring stretch

Hamstrings are one of the biggest muscles in the legs. They play a crucial role in supporting your body during runs and workouts. To stretch your hamstrings, you don’t really need to leave your desk. While sitting on your chair, put your leg straight out with your heel placed on something elevated. Keep your foot flexed. It could be a box, a shelf under your desk, or a footstool. Place the other foot firmly on the ground. Sit up straight and slowly bend forward hinging at the hips. Keep your abdomen tucked in, pulling your navel towards your spine.

To move it up a notch, you can try and reach the toes of your extended leg and hold for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat the same on the other side.

Seated pigeon stretch

The pigeon stretch is great for opening up your hip flexors. Here’s a modified seated pigeon stretch for runners who sit at their desk for the majority of the day. Sit straight on your chair and place your right ankle over your left knee. Flex the right foot. You should feel a stretch in your outer right hip. To intensify the stretch, hinge at the hips and try to fold over the right leg.

Hold for 20 -30 seconds and then repeat on the left side.

Seated twist

This is another very satisfying stretch for the back. You can do this on the floor or even on your chair. If you are on the floor, sit up straight and extend your left leg forward. Cross the right foot over the left leg and place it next to your outer thigh. Hug the right knee with your left arm and place your right hand on the floor behind your back. Slowly twist to the right and look over your right shoulder.

Hold for 20 – 30 seconds. Slowly come back to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Most importantly, move around

Moving around is a great addition to these stretches for runners who sit for the majority of the day. Get up from your chair every few hours and walk around. Prolonged sitting can not only affect your running but leave long term impacts on your overall health. Make sure you take time to get up and move around no matter how busy your day is. These stretches for runners are a great addition to these 8 ways to prevent shin splints!