July 25, 2017

To warm up or not to warm up….

You could ask 100 people if they warm up before they run and I am sure it would be fairly split as to whether people do or don’t.

Some people just dive straight into running and others do a bit of a warm up before they do.

I would always recommend warming up for five minutes before you launch into a full blown run. So why do we warm up and what’s a good way to warm up quickly?

5 reasons to warm up

  • warm the muscles up gradually to prevent injury
  • reduce muscle stiffness
  • more efficient blood flow and oxygen use when the muscles are warmed up
  • get the heart rate up gradually
  • prepares you mentally for exercise

The best way to warm up

Dynamic stretching is the best way, in my opinion, to warm up. This should be sport specific so focused on running. Dynamic stretching is a controlled movement which improves the range of motion and warms up muscles and raises the heart rate. This differs to static stretching which aims to hold a muscle in an elongated position for a period of time; this is perfect to cool down but isn’t shown to have good effects on a warm up; in fact some studies show it can cause injury.

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5 simple post run stretches

Stretching is one of those subjects that people have different views on. Some people advocate stretching and others get away with never stretching. I guarantee the latter can’t touch their toes anymore though!

Stretching is important for a few reasons:

  • Increases range of motion and flexibility
  • Lengthens muscles after they are shortened during exercise
  • Decreases muscle soreness and reduces risk of iinjury
  • Decreases muscle tension
  • Improves circulation

When you are running you are predominantly using your glutes, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors and calf muscles; however you are also using your core, biceps and upper body to a lesser extent so you need to stretch these muscles out too.

5 simple stretches to do post run are below. These are designed to be easy to remember and stretch mostly the legs, glutes and back.

 

Calf stretch against wall

This exercise stretches the calf muscle (gastrocnemius to be exact) and also the Achilles.

  • Stand arms length from the wall
  • Front foot should be slightly bent and back leg straight
  • Press hips forward until stretch is felt in the back leg
  • Hold for 30 secs and repeat
Calf stretch
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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