A lot of runners know that it is a good idea to warm up before running, but what exactly constitutes a good warm-up? Walking? Jogging? Stretching? All of the above?
The purpose of a warm-up is to prepare your body for your workout.
So when you’re getting ready for your run, your ideal warm-up will accomplish three things. It will:
- increase your heart rate;
- warm up your muscles and tendons; and
- move your joints through their full range of motion.
Let’s look at each of these components in a little more depth.
Increase heart rate
During your run, your heart rate is obviously going to be elevated in order to get your blood (and some oxygen) to your muscles. A good warm-up increases your heart rate more slowly than just jumping into the workout, which is easier on your body.
Warm up muscles and tendons
Cold muscles and tendons are more likely to sustain injuries than warm muscles and tendons. Warming up properly doesn’t eliminate the chance of sustaining an injury, but it sure does decrease the chances.
Movement in the joints
Having a full or normal range of motion in your joints helps to allow you to run with your normal gait, which is very important.
So what does a good warm-up look like?
Anything that accomplishes the three things I just mentioned!
An easy jog? Yep.
Some calisthenics? Yep.
You really have a lot of options when it comes to doing your warm-up before you go for your run. Even on the options above make sure to start slow. The warm-up is not a competition, it is a preparation.
One thing you shouldn’t do as part of your warm up is hold a stretch. Why not?
That’s another topic for another day. Just trust me on this!