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A stretching regimen can help counteract the muscle imbalances and tightening that are common side-effects of running. Whereas experts no longer advise strenuous stretching before running (muscles are better stretched when they're warm), warm-up exercises can help with blood flow and stretching after a run can increase flexibility. Read on to learn about two popular approaches to flexibility work that can complement your running.
According to fitness coach Phil Wharton, a little stretching is much better than none. “It doesn't need to be a big ordeal,” says Wharton, who created the Wharton Performance program with his father, Jim. “If your time is limited, you can still take steps to prepare your muscles for activity.”
Regular yoga practice can be a great complement to your running workouts. “Lots of runners cross-train with yoga, which builds core strength and flexibility, and improves performance through breathing, mindfulness, and fine-tuning your body’s proprioceptive response,” says Dana Slamp of Pure Yoga, the studio that's home to NYRR’s Yoga for Runners classes.