Like any machine, the human body needs to be warmed up before we use it. Not doing so increases our chance of injury while also limiting our potential out of the starting gate. It is hard to #LoveYourRun if our bodies are seizing up on us.
We all understand the idea of getting our blood flowing and loosening our muscles, but a proper warm-up also activates the bodies various systems so that we can perform at our best level. Here are our three favorite tips to get us ready for that big workout or race.
Static is Out, Dynamic is In
Traditionally stretching was static. It was based on the idea of holding various poses for 30 seconds to a minute to make us limber. However, while studies have shown that this is still useful to help you relax and calm the nervous system, it does not help us train.
Instead, prior to exercising we should be stretching dynamically. This has the benefit of improving power, strength and performance. When we dynamically stretch we move our muscles through their full range of motion in a repeated and smooth fashion. The goal is to activate the muscles that we’ll be using during the workout. It is important that we don’t overextend our muscles or be forceful, because this will lead to injuries.
Because we all have limited time to get our training blocks in, we can be easily tempted to skip the warm up and jump right into the workout. We have to ignore that impulse and slowly ramp up our exercise. Our bodies need time to become aware of what we are about to ask of them. This is especially important if we are tired or sore. By not giving the body enough time to wake up, we are only asking for injury.
Listen to Your Body
We ask a lot from our bodies. We train continuously so that we can compete in three distinct sports. In return, it is important that we listen to what our bodies have to say. There will be days that a minimal warm up is all we need before we hit the trail. On other days, we might have to run several miles on the track before our bodies start to respond. By listening to this feedback we can keep our bodies healthy and strong and needlessly miss training days through easily avoidable injuries.
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