Warming up before an intense, or even a mild, workout is as important as tuning a guitar before you play it. To put it simply, warming up your body before you run will decrease the chance of injury by a noticeable degree.
A proper warm up routine will gradually increase your heart-rate, betters your blood-flow and readies your muscles, bones and joints for the challenging routine ahead. Without a good enough warm up session, you get tired fast and will be sore for the next day’s run.
Running is as simple as it gets, but that doesn’t mean that you can run before you are ready to. Getting ready for running is as crucial as running itself.
Static or Dynamic?
There’s two types of stretches we can do: Static and Dynamic. Like the names suggest, static stretches are those in which you stretch a muscle and hold for a duration of time. Dynamic stretches include a range of motion. It is said that doing dynamic stretching is the best way to warm up before a run.
General and Specific
Within the category of dynamic stretching there is further division. General stretches are those that bring your whole body’s core temperature up while Specific stretches target specific muscles that contribute to the real workout.
Now that we have understood some basic terms, let’s discuss a few ways to stretch; get you warmed-up and ready to go!
Put one of your feet forward and bend both knees so that the rear knee faces the ground and the front knee faces the front - just like you do a lunge. Then move the rear foot forward to join the front foot and repeat with it.
Lie on the ground, on your back with your arms stretched at your sides. Keeping your torso firm, twist your body at your hips making your legs go to the side, and then the other side, and repeat. This warm up stretch loosens abdominal muscles, obliques and back muscles - three core muscles involved in running.
There are many variations, most of them work just fine. Backward, forward, lateral - do all for at least 8-12 reps of each variety for a complete flexibility and warm up. Leg swings focus on the hip joints which are crucial in running.
Walking is a low-intensity exercise but it is effective nonetheless. A 3-5 minute walk would get your heart-rate increased in a comfortable way. It is a superb way to loosen up your body, your muscles and bones with least amount of energy and efforts. Walking is the perfect way to ready your body for running since it uses a similar range of motions (of your limbs and core) as running.
After a good walk comes jogging, a step up. Jogging is another high quality general stretch that wakes up the muscles required to run. It allows you to increase your heart-rate gradually and increases blood flow to all the muscles in your legs, hips and core muscles. A 10-15 minutes of jogging can result in an energising running session.
And now that you are all warmed up, let’s run!
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