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Video:How to Warm Up Before Running

with Jacob Taxis

Warming up before running is essential so that you don't strain yourself or pull a muscle. Here are some tips for how to warm up before running.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Warm Up Before Running

Hi, I'm Jacob Taxis for About.com. In this video you will learn how to properly warm up before running. Before you hit the track running you want to prepare your body for all the work ahead with a quick warm-up.

Tips for Starting Up Your Warm Up Before Running

Do not begin with stretching because it is very easy to strain cold muscles. First choose a light aerobic exercise to warm up with. Aerobic literally means 'with oxygen or air.' You should be able have a brief conversation while you are doing your aerobic exercise.

If you are gasping for air in your warm up, you are probably doing an anaerobic workout, which will lead to sore muscles after your run. Aerobic exercises include: walking, jogging, walking lunges and high knees. Do one or two of these activities for a total of 5-10 minutes at a low intensity.

Start out slow and don't rush yourself through it. Allow your body to fully and gradually warm up. Stretching After you've warmed up from the aerobic exercise, start stretching. You want to stretch some of the main running components.

Tips for Stretching During a Warm Up Before Runnign

Each stretching position should be held for about 15-30 seconds. Stretch the shoulders by lifting them up toward the ears and setting them into a slow circular motion. Reverse the direction. Stretch your hamstrings by crossing one leg over the other, bending at the waist, and lowering your head towards your toes. Do this for both legs.

To stretch your quadriceps, first find something to hold onto. Then lift one leg behind you and grab your ankle with the alternate hand. Your knee should be bending naturally, and not at an overexerted angle. Alternate.

Stretch your calf muscles by leaning your weight and pressing your hands against something stable like a tree or fence. Extend one leg back, keeping it straight with the foot flat to the ground. The other leg stays forward, slightly bent. Feel a good stretch in the lower calf muscle and switch. You want to avoid any quick stretching movements along with any hopping around. Stretch each muscle slowly and gradually in a stable position.

Reasons for Doing a Warm Up Before Running

When you're warmed up and ready to get running, refrain from entering your run at a lightning speed. Instead, start with a jog and gradually progress to your full level of exertion.

Warming up is important because doing so properly:
  • guards against injury
  • helps your body move and work more efficiently
  • expands your blood vessels, which in turn, supplies your muscles with oxygen
Taking the time to warm up will also benefit heart health by allowing a gradual rise in heart rate as intensity slowly increases. The gradual rise of a warm up is less stressful on the heart than an abrupt workout which causes the heart rate to jump quickly from low to high.

A typical running warm up takes 5-15 minutes. The length of your warm up should correspond with the intensity of your running workout. The greater the intensity, the longer your warm-up ought to be.

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