Warming Up and Cooling Down – it’s KEY!

Do you warm up before a run and cool down after? Should you?

Dennis Parkes

Often a neglected part of the running routine, taking the time to warm up and cool down properly will benefit your body in so many ways.

Taking just five minutes to get your heart rate up will increase the flow of blood to your muscles and is going to reduce the risk of getting injured and leave you feeling less sore afterwards. Cooling down then helps bring your heart rate back down gradually and can be a useful time for some post-run reflection.

Here is some useful info about what you can do:

Dynamic Stretching – This is a great way to get your blood pumping, tune your brain in and get your body moving. There’s no reason why you can’t get some static stretches in too, a combination of both should get you well prepared for a solid run.

It’s important to note that when running, the muscles you work most are your calf muscles, hamstrings, quads, glutes and your hip flexors. You should target these areas when limbering up before you head out.

Building Up to Speed – Walking. While walking, your body is going through a similar motion to when running, which makes it an effective way to ease into your run, slowly building up to your preferred speed.

Cool Downs – Pretty much the opposite of building up speed, but this time you’re slowing down into a walk. Cooling down helps bring your heart rate back down gradually and is a great way to prevent muscle related injuries.

Then, you can add some static stretching. Focusing on the muscles you just used during your run is a great way to finish up the cool down. This will improve flexibility, blood circulation and reduce the build up of lactic acid in your body.

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