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How should I warm up for my run?

A proper warm up should result in an increased breathing rate, heart rate and a perspirating athlete. The purpose of the warm-up is to increase blood flow slowly so the body has time to adjust to the increased demands for usable energy. Warm-ups also do just that, warm the muscles and tendons and ligaments in the body so that they are more pliable and flexible. Think about warming wax. When it is cold it is solid and brittle and breaks more easily, when it becomes warmed, though, it is more pliable and more resistant to tearing. This is essentially what happens with muscle tissue as well. As the body warms the muscles are able to move through a larger range of motion without associate risk of injury, or tearing. The body does not have an “on/off” switch. It needs time to adapt to the demands that it is being asked to do. As such, a proper warm up should include 10 to 15 minutes of light jogging, with a few strides of quicker and longer steps thrown in. Following the easy run, an athlete should perform some gentle dynamic stretches paying particular attention to their lower body. A stretching program should include exercises that target at least, upper thighs, hamstrings, calves and iliotibial bands (side of thighs). Try performing walking lunges with a twist, squats, push-ups with rotation and side-to-side tube walking.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.