Effective Warm-Up Techniques for Runners

Warm-Up Techniques for Runners pic

Warm-Up Techniques for Runners
Image: runnersworld.com

Michael “Mike” Vasaturo, the vice president and chief financial officer of New Haven Terminal, Inc., balances his professional responsibilities with a variety of volunteer and leisure activities. Michael Vasaturo enjoys making time for personal fitness and is an avid runner.

Although running is an extremely satisfying activity both physically and mentally, it places intense demands on the body. Muscles and joints must work hard to keep the runner going, and they need a thorough warm-up. An effective warm-up increases heart and breathing rates, which in turn increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the muscles before the run even starts.

The most important element of a warm-up is a gradual increase in activity. Experts recommend beginning with a gentle walk for a block or two, as this loosens and warms the musculoskeletal system. Runners can then increase their pace to a jog to increase their heart rate. After a few minutes of jogging, the runner can complete five or six sprints of approximately 100 meters.

Only after warming the muscles should the runner add stretching to the warm-up. A moving dynamic stretch is preferable to a held stretch, which can overwork the muscles and lead to injury. Dynamic stretching however, incorporates such controlled movements as side steps, skipping, and weaving steps to further warm up the major muscle groups and increase range of motion.