Doing a proper warm-up is essential when it comes to running, but not everyone takes the few minutes to actually do it. Some runners say they don’t need to warm-up or don’t have the time, but warming up is vital – it sets you up for a successful run and helps prevent injuries.
Warming up prepares your bones, muscles and joints for the work ahead. Runners who skip this essential step may start out too quickly and pull or tweak a muscle.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your run:
- Walk for three to five minutes. Walking eases your body out of the non-exercise mode into exercise mode. It also takes your body through the same motions you move when running. And when your run is done, once again walk three to five minutes since it helps your body cool down and get ready for your regular life activities.
- Do dynamic stretching. Static stretching – where you stand in the same pose for 30 seconds or so – is discouraged by physical therapists pre-workout. Instead, add dynamic stretching to your workout. Dynamic stretching is an active stretch that helps to increase your range of motion. It loosens up your muscles, raises your body’s temperature and gets your heart pumping – all keys to a successful workout. Some examples of dynamic stretches include skipping, side step/shuffles, butt kicks, the grapevine and toy solider (keep your back and knees straight and walk forward, lifting your legs straight up). Do each of the dynamic stretches for about 20 meters or so.
- Add intervals. Do five or six 100 meter intervals, which help flood the body’s muscles with blood and gets them ready for your run. Jog for about two minutes and then gradually increase your speed for about 100 meters. After accelerating, slowly decrease the speed.
Be sure to always leave enough time to do a proper warm-up before beginning your run. Preparing your body before you hit full speed and stride will help you have a more successful run.
Kayla Pfeiffer is a licensed athletic trainer with ThedaCare Orthopedic Care at ThedaCare Medical Center-New London.