On your marks. Get set…Stop! Have you warmed up? If not, you increase the likelihood of being injured while running. Dynamic stretching – moving through your stretches – should be part of your warm-up routine. This type of stretching is considered best before a race, or any other intense competitive sport because it increases blood flow to your muscles.
Here are 5 easy dynamic stretches that should be part of your warm-up routine. Try them before a race to help prevent injuries.
To activate your hamstrings, start in a standing position with both feet facing forward. Take a wide step forward with one leg, bending the knee as you shift your weight over your foot. Return to a standing position and repeat for 30 seconds before you switch to your other leg.Lunges can also be performed to the side, using the same guidelines as above.
- Leg swings
Straight-leg lateral swing
To increase the mobility of your abductor and adductor muscles, and strengthen your core, swing one leg across the front of your body and back. Take care not to rotate your torso or pelvis. Aim for 15 to 20 swings, at one swing per second, before changing legs.
Straight-leg forward swing
To avoid tight hamstring and hip flexor muscles, swing one leg forwards and backwards, while keeping your pelvis in a fixed position. Take care not lean forwards or backwards. Aim for 15 to 20 swings, at one swing per second, before changing legs.
Prevent Achilles, calf and shin issues, as well as plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the fibrous tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes). Instead of your usual rise and lower drill, place your toes and ball of one foot on the ground and lower your weight through your foot until your heel is touching the ground. Take one or two seconds for each movement, alternating feet. Do 3 sets and aim for 15 to 30 seconds per set, completing a walk back recovery in between.
Place your feet apart, just outside hip-width. Keeping your weight on your heels, bend your knees, and push your hips down and back until your hips are lower than your knees. Push off your heels to straighten up and repeat.
- Plank marches
To warm-up your core and shoulder muscles, get into a plank position one your hands. Lift and lower one hand at a time in a slow, controlled motion. Repeat 10 times on each side.
These are just a few of the dynamic stretches recommended by professional athletes to help prevent injuries while running.Include them in your warm-up routine and let us know how these stretches help you.
For advice on how to help prevent injuries while running, Bestmed is Personally Yours.