The natural tendency for amateur runners who are just about to go for a jog is to quickly change into a pair of running shoes and hit the streets. But if you do this without undertaking the necessary warm-up then you may be heading for disaster, and possibly serious injury. Muscles can be pulled, tendons may be tweaked, and joints jolted, which will result in injury and an abrupt stop to your exercise. A correct warm-up will give your total body a chance to get loosened up, it will slowly bring up your heart rate and will allow you to get into the rhythm for your run. It also will get your body and your brain a chance to come up to the speed with the notion that it is about to undertake further exercise.
Your first steps should be at walking pace, probably for at least five minutes, this will get you out of your sitting mode and wake your body up. Walking actually engages the exact same muscles, tendons and joints as running does. It will also bring your core body temperature up and warm the muscles. But of utmost importance it increases your blood flow and gets your brain into exercise mode.
This means gradually picking your pace up and to flood the muscles with blood preparing it for the next stage which is running. Follow the steps below which set out how to add strides:
- Jog for around five minutes
- Accelerate between 60 and 100 meters then tail off
- After each stride, walk and shake out your legs for a minute or two
- Then do exactly the same the way you came from
- Do not try to time your strides warm-ups and the distance of the strides is really immaterial
Pay attention not to over stretch your strides, which is basically extending your foot out too far ahead of your knee. Keep your steps short, and your legs directly under your body.
After completion of your strides it is now time to do some dynamic stretching. Static stretching used to be all the rage among fitness gurus, but it is now somewhat frowned upon because of the amount of injuries it caused. Dynamic stretching will give you the most out of your run, it will cut down the risk of injury and will enable you to run longer. The key to dynamic stretching is using leg movements to improve the range of motion, it will also increase body temperature, blood flow and heart rate. Exercises that are ideal for dynamic stretching are: Forward Jacks, Jumping Jacks, Squat with Walkout finish, and Walkout with Knees to Elbows. Skipping is a top form of dynamic stretching and fulfils all the requirements your body needs before undertaking a run.
These tips will not only reduce the possibility of injury they will also actually bring your body up to the required levels to undertake a road run. Your body is a complicated machine, and needs to be tweaked and prepared for many forms of physical exercise. Once it has undergone the correct preparation it will be far more in tune with itself and perform better in every respect.