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In the Flow

by Paige Greenfield

After a long run on a hot day, few things feel better than diving into a pool. But why stop at cooling off? By taking your stretching routine underwater, you'll be able to move your joints and limbs through a wider range of motion—and with greater control—compared to stretching on land, says Scott Riewald, Ph.D., a biomechanics expert who works with Olympic athletes. "It's easier to reach and hold the point of optimal stretch, with less strain," he says. Do this routine in the pool after a run. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, repeating twice on both legs.

Start in a lunge position with the left leg on a low step. Bend the right knee and shift your body weight forward so your hips drop down. You'll feel this in the front of the left hip.

In waist-deep water, place one foot, heel down, on a low step. Looking straight ahead, flex at the hips to bring the torso forward until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh.

Stand in chest-deep water and hold the wall. Step back with the right leg and press the heel down. Hold for 20 seconds, then bend the right knee slightly for a deeper stretch.

Stand on your left leg. Grasp the right foot behind you. For a deeper stretch, press the hips forward and allow the right knee to move back slightly.

Stand on your left leg in chest-deep water. Grab your right knee with both arms and pull it tightly to the chest while maintaining good posture.

Position yourself so your left side is close to a wall. Cross the left foot in front of the right. Lean to the left with your torso while pushing the right hip away from the wall.

In the Flow

According to Jeff Galloway, the best cross training for running is swimming. Hey, I never thought that I could do stretching, too!

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