Experts say that all your running sessions should start with a warmup and end with a cool-down. These two bookends are very important to prepare you for a run and to help you recover at the end of your workout. A good and relevant warmup dilates your blood vessels, ensuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen before you give them a vigorous workout. Additionally, it raises the temperature of your muscles for optimal flexibility and efficiency. By gradually increasing your heart rate, a smart warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart when you start your run.
Despite the fact that a warm-up before hitting the running track lowers the risk of injury and boosts performance, the majority of the people skip their pre-run warm-up. Many of us enjoy running and it’s always tempting for us to shoot out the door at top speed, or forego a running warmup in the interest of saving time. But heading at full throttle without a proper pre-run warm-up is a recipe for disaster. This is why lots of avid runners tend to skirt around a proper warm-up. Read on to learn in detail about some most popular warm-up exercises you should do before beginning your running session.
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Some most popular warm-up exercises for running:
Although I am not a doctor, there is a common belief that warming up drastically reduces the occurrence of injuries, be it muscle, tendon, or bone. Warm-up won’t hurt you but skipping your warm-up before an intense workout does. Besides priming your legs for exercise, there are some other vital reasons to warm up too. For instance, it does just what the term suggests, it increases the temperature of your muscles so they can contract and relax more efficiently. It preps your body and mind for a vigorous workout to follow. Here are some common warm-up exercises needed for running safely.
Do a light walk:
Walking for a while before running will help you loosen your joints and muscles. And running with loose muscles will save you from injuries. This is why walking is considered the cherry on top of your warm-up.
Do Dynamic Stretches:
Static stretching, in which you hold a muscle in an elongated, fixed position for 30 seconds or more is a good warm-up for other physical activities but in the case of running it is discouraged, as it’s been linked to the injury. But dynamic stretching, in which you utilize controlled leg movements to improve range of motion, loosen up muscles, and increase heart rate, body temperature, and blood flow. Dynamic stretching helps you run more efficiently.
Doing strides before running will flood your muscles with blood, recruit your fast-twitch muscle fibers, and help your body transition from walking to running mode. Start with easy jogging for at least two minutes, preferably more. Then gradually accelerate over the course of 60 to 100 meters, then gradually decelerate. After the completion of each stride, walk around and shake out your legs for 90 seconds. After that, you should stride back in the opposite direction. Furthermore, your strides should not be timed, and the exact distance of each stride is not critical.
1-minute surge (or 2 x 30-second surges):
This activity is considered to be the secret sauce to your warm-up. Once you are done with strides, do a 1-minute surge at a moderately hard effort. Don’t worry about the pace of your surge. This activity will get your heart rate up for a more extended period than strides. It will help in removing the shock that often accompanies the first interval of a workout. Also, if you are not ok with a 1-minute surge you can do two 30 second surges instead. And take a 1-2-minute break between each surge. But one thing you must keep in mind, don’t overdo it because it can cause you some kind of injury.
Begin your run:
After doing all those warming-up activities, you are prepared for running. But one thing not to forget is that you shouldn’t start out racing even from the start, but instead jog slowly at first and gradually build up your speed. During your workout, you should be breathing very easily. If you feel yourself getting out of breath, it would be better if you slow down. This is part of knowing how fast you should run, and it’s easy to start off too fast.