With runners pounding the parks, paths and towpaths of leafy Chiswick

Personal Trainer Martin Swan provides some essential injury prevention advice

To find out more contact Martin on 07947 663192 or martin@bankingonfitness.com
Or check out his website on www.bankingonfitness.com

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Now that the clocks have changed and the days are getting longer more of us will be pounding the parks, paths and towpaths of leafy Chiswick.

Personal Trainer Martin Swan of Banking On Fitness advises that in order to prevent injury it is essential that we do suitable warm ups and cool downs so here are a Warm Up and a Cool Down which he has prepared for runners

Warm Ups
Martin advises ‘An ideal warm up should mobilise the joints and loosen the muscles to prepare them for activity. Warm muscles pull oxygen from the bloodstream more easily to produce energy efficiently and also reduce the probability of pulls.

In the past it was assumed that static stretches – (holding a part of the body and not moving it (eg toe touches, quad stretches, hamstring stretches) were a vital part of any warm up. Recent research has proven these do not necessarily help improve the body’s readiness for exercise. That said not all stretching should be avoided as part of a warm up routine. Dynamic stretching movements do help prepare muscles for a work out. Ideally these should aim to activate the muscles and joints which will be used in the workout.’

Martin’s Pre – Exercise Warm Up (10 minutes)
A mixture of: Light jogging, running on the spot, bum kicks, steam engines (alternate elbows to knees), dynamic stretches (such as arm circling, walking lunges, high knees, squats, shoulder shrugs, spinal twists, hip rotations).

Cool Downs
Martin advises that the cool down is equally important as the warm up. "If you suddenly stop high intensity cardio work blood can pool in the lower limbs causing dizziness. Therefore ideally a cool down should involve gradually reducing the exercise intensity for a period of 5-10 minutes and then do static stretches. As your muscles are warm these will help to improve flexibility of the muscles and allow you get a deeper stretch. Muscles which should be stretched include: shoulders, arms, triceps, chest, back, adductor and abductors (inner and outer thighs), glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. Yoga type stretches are also good at this point of the work out – a sun salutation routine plus standing twists covers most muscle groups.

Remember never to stretch a muscle to a point where is it really painful as this could lead to a pull. That said you do want to feel the stretch and have an element of discomfort."

Martin’s Post Exercise Stretches for Runners
Glutes/ Bum

• Lie on your back
• Bend your right leg to 90 degrees
• Place your left ankle on your right knee
• Now use your right knee to push your left leg towards your body. You can use your hands to help the stretch.
• You should feel the stretch in your left buttock
• Hold for 15 - 30 seconds
• Repeat for other leg

Lower Back
• Lie on your back with shoulders flat on the ground
• Rotate your legs 90 degrees to the right to the floor and at the same time move both arms to the left
• You should feel the stretch in your lower back
• Hold for 15 - 30 seconds
• Repeat for opposite side of back

• Stand with left leg straight on a bench which is below hip height
• Keep the left foot relaxed and pelvis level
• The right leg may be bent slightly
• Gently lean forward at the hips to touch as far down the left leg as possible without bending it
• You should feel the stretch at the back of your left thigh
• Hold for 15 - 30 seconds
• Repeat for right leg

• Stand straight up 90 degrees to a wall or surface you can support yourself against
• Place right arm out straight against the supporting surface
• Keeping your right leg straight now pull back your left leg with left knee bent as if you were trying to get your left heel to touch your left buttock. Do not let your spine or pelvis move
• You should feel the stretch at the front of your left thigh
• Hold for 15 - 30 seconds
• Repeat for right leg

Calves/ Achilles Tendons
• Stand facing a wall with your left toes bent against the wall whilst keeping your left heel on the floor
• Your right leg should be straight and parallel but 12 – 24 inches behind your left leg
• Gently push your left leg towards the wall by bending your knee whilst keeping your left heel fixed to the floor
• You should feel the stretch in the back of your left calf and achilles tendon.
• Repeat for right leg

“And remember if you do suffer from injuries incurred during your run it may be time for you to get a new pair of running shoes. Whilst some manufacturers will tell you differently the accepted wisdom is that the lifetime of a pair of running shoes is between 350 – 500 miles. Enjoy your runs”


April 7, 2010