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Why do I need to warm up before a run?

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Sudden and powerful movements such as sprints heavily stimulate muscles – but to efficiently process those stimuli, your muscles must first be prepared for them and the stress that comes with these bursts of high intensity exercise. But what is behind warming up and when are you properly warm?

How Do I Warm Up?

Before fast runs and running workouts, it is important to get muscles ready by going for an easy jog for 15 minutes. A few jumping jacks will also get the rest of your muscles ready for training. But both should be done at a slow pace – not at the speed you would run a workout. This will not only help to mentally prepare for the challenge ahead, but will also cause your body temperature to rise, and your muscles will be supplied with up to four times more nutrients and oxygen than normal. Ligaments and tendons become more elastic and the nervous system is activated, which makes the interaction between your muscle apparatus smoother and more effective. This is optimal preparation for running training.

How Do I Stay Warm During Breaks?

The breaks are built in to the workouts as time to recover. During fast workouts, it is fine to stand still, walk, jog or sit briefly. It is important to remember however, that when the temperature drops, it is better to keep moving than to let your body temperature drop. Running during the breaks in moderate workouts is also fine, but this should be done at a much slower pace than the intervals. Beginners should always walk during the breaks, because their tendons, fasciae and ligaments are not yet used to the strain of running. Walking during the breaks will help stop these being overburdened, especially at the beginning, which can also help avoid injury in the future. A brisk walk is best, as this keeps the heart rate up, but it is also important to conserve energy before longer periods of exertion.

As running uses almost 70% of the muscles in the body, it is important to make sure they are ready for periods of high exertion. This is especially true for beginners, whose muscles are not yet used to the high intensity of training. Warming up properly will help reduce the soreness of muscles after training and increase flexibility and mobility.