Runners are always looking for that extra edge, that extra kick that will get their time down by a few seconds, give them the extra strength, and of course, get them on a longer run. Running would be the obvious way to improve your running, but you might be surprised at how many runners focus a lot of their attention elsewhere.
One of the best ways to take your running to the next level is to improve your body mobility. You can achieve this by using what they call dynamic stretching. There are plenty of people who assume that they are moving just fine thank you very much, but what can it hurt?
Mobility can influence how far you can go on each stride, which in turn affects speed and performance. It also helps you to avoid injury and improve your long-term quality of life according to Trent Nessler, PT, MPT, DPT, CEO of Accelerated Conditioning and Learning in Nashville, TN. Timing is also essential. He explains,
As we age, our tissues dry out and so you must address flexibility for greater shock absorption. You want to think about your longevity and ability to stay active.
Your age isn’t the only hurdle you will have you consider though. Sitting at a desk all during the week will take a toll as well, even if you’re running significant amounts during the week as well. Robert Gillanders, PT, DPT, with Sports and Spinal Physical Therapy in Washington DC says,
Our mobility can be compromised for many different reasons. Past injuries, training stress, body type and a lifestyle that involves sitting all day can all play a role in how much range of motion you have.
Nessler finds that 95% of runners don’t maximize their flexibility. Nessler says,
With dynamic stretches, you take your body through a full range of motion. You work on many things, including flexibility and proprioception.
Both Gillanders and Nessler believe in using movement as a way to decrease injuries and improve your performance, they also believe in proper practice. If you do it improperly, you will reinforce improper movement and therefore increase your chances of things like injuries.
There are a number of different options that you have to improve your flexibility and movement. If you do this correctly, you will not only improve your running, but your fitness and flexibility in general.