Running is one of the most beneficial activities you can perform in terms of health and wellbeing.
But even more important are the warm-up exercises before running.
Running not only promotes physical fitness, but it also boosts your mental health and can assist with weight loss in the process.
Whether you choose to run outdoors, or indoors on a treadmill, you must take the time to stretch and warm-up before you begin.
Too many people fail to warm up before running. And, as a result, they find themselves picking up injuries and not performing to the best of their abilities.
A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that warming up significantly improves exercise performance. Here’s a look at 5 warm-up exercises before running.
1. Hip openers
The first warm-up exercise we have on our list today is the hip opener.
When you run, your hips play a very important role in the process.
If they aren’t warmed up properly not only will you not run to the best of your ability, but you will also find yourself at risk of injury.
This warm-up exercise targets the deep hip external rotators.
To perform this exercise, begin by standing upright and bending your right knee and lifting it up to hip level.
Next, slowly rotate it outwards 90 degrees before bringing it back to the starting position.
Switch legs and repeat the process.
2. Arm circles
As you know when running, it isn’t just the legs that are worked. So too are your arms as they help to propel you forwards.
This simple warm-up helps to warm up the arms and upper body and helps reduce the risk of a shoulder injury.
Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, lifting your arms up and out to shoulder height.
Next, make sure the palms are facing the ground, use them to make small circles in the air.
After around 30 seconds, go in the opposite direction.
3. Frankenstein walks
This may sound and look a little silly, but for a runner, it is a fantastic warm-up for stretching the hamstrings.
Begin by standing straight with both feet together and your arms by your sides.
Next, slowly raise your right leg straight out directly in front of you, and use your left hand to gently touch the toes of your right leg.
Slowly lower your leg and repeat the process on the opposite side.
Repeat for as many reps as possible in the next 30 seconds.
4. Walking lunges
Walking lunges are ideal for people that are looking to warm their hips and lower body muscles up before running.
They’re ideal for targeting the glutes, hamstrings, hip flexors, quads, and calves. In general, lunges are a good core exercise that gets you ready for the run ahead.
Begin by standing up straight with your arms by your sides.
Next, slowly take a step forwards with your left knee until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front thigh is directly parallel to the ground.
Your back knee should now be pointing towards the ground, with your front knee over your ankle.
Now, press your right heel firmly into the ground and use your left foot to push off and bring your left leg forwards.
Repeat the process on the other side and repeat for as many reps as required.
5. Knee raises
Finally, we have knee raises. Despite being simple, they’re very effective for warming up the quads, hamstrings, and hips. It also gets the blood pumping and helps to prevent knee pain.
To perform knee raises, stand with your back straight and your arms by your sides.
Next, keeping the back straight, hold both hands out straight in front of you, palms down, around waist height.
Now, slowly but in a controlled manner, raise your right knee into the air and try to touch your palms with it.
Repeat with the left knee and repeat for as many reps as you can do in 30 seconds.