The kitchen is a good place to incorporate injury prevention exercises into a daily training regimen. Exercises such as calf raises, ankle circles or leg raises can help runners prevent injuries by strengthening injury-prone areas of the body. These types of exercises are beneficial for almost all runners, but it can be hard to find time to include them in our busy lives.
I love cooking and one of my favorite ways to incorporate injury prevention exercises into my daily routine is to perform the exercises while I’m preparing my meals. Listed below are my favorite exercises to do in the kitchen, or during other leisurely activities – e.g. while watching your favorite running movie or eating your wonderfully prepared dinner.
Strengthen Your Calves While Stirring Pasta
Calf raises help strengthen your calves and achilles, which can be injury prone areas for runners. Raise up on your toes as high as you can for 5 sets of 20 with 1 minute rest. Work up to larger amounts of repetitions as you get stronger.
Improve Stabilizer Muscles While Making Chocolate Energy Balls
Inflatable stability disks are a perfect tool for strengthening small stabilizer muscles used to help you balance. I try to stand with one leg on the stability disk for 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time, then switch legs. Check out my previous tip “Foot Strength and Mobility” to learn more about how I use these stability disks.
Send us a message or hit us up on social if you’d like the recipe to these Chocolate Energy Balls (recipe borrowed from Shalane Flanagan’s Run Fast Eat Slow).
Massage Your Plantar Fascia While Making Salads
Rolling a golf ball on the bottom of your foot can help prevent plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia, the thick band of tissue running along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel to your toes. This is a common running injury, but can be prevented by performing simple exercises such as the golf ball massage.
Strengthen Your Glutes While Waiting for Toast
Runners tend to have weaknesses in their glute muscles, particularly the gluteus medius. These weaknesses cause muscular imbalances in the glutes, which can lead to injuries throughout the body. Use a resistance band and perform lateral leg lifts to strengthen your glutes. Try performing these leg lifts for 1 minute on each side and add more reps as needed.
Improve Ankle Mobility While Doing the Dishes
Ankle circles can help prevent rolled ankles and other foot and achilles injuries. Doing these exercises consistently can help you obtain larger ranges of motion in your ankle joints, which allows you to run more smoothly and avoid injuries. Perform circles counter-clockwise for 1 minute on each side. Then repeat clockwise.
This exercise can also be performed while seated. Write the alphabet with your right foot from A to Z, then switch to the left foot. Perform two full sets per foot.