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When warm weather arrives (finally!), even non-runners get inspired to take their cardio routine to the streets. It's certainly more fun than feeling like a hamster on a wheel, plus outdoor runs offer added challenges like wind resistance and uneven terrain. The only downside is that pavement can be tough on your joints and cause severely tight muscles.
If you experience pain or just feel "locked up" in and around your knees, your iliotibial band, or IT band, might be to blame. The IT band begins at the pelvis and runs on the outside part of the thigh all the way down to the shinbone. The muscles in your butt and hips attach to it, so even if you're feeling pain in your knee, it might be a symptom of weakness or tightness in the hips.
The best strategy for staying pain- and injury-free is a combination of strengthening the hips, stretching the IT bands, and foam rolling all the major muscles in your legs. It sounds like a lot of work, but by doing these six simple moves just twice a week, you'll notice a significant difference.
You'll need: An exercise band, a foam roller, and a mat (optional).
RELATED: 10 Ways to Use a Foam Roller
Your best defense when running results in achy knees and severely tight muscles
A quick fix for when running results in achy knees and severely tight leg muscles.
female runner doing basic it band stretch