Warming up and cooling down properly before you start your run is extremely important even though you may be prepared mentally to go for a run that you have been anticipating, whether it forms part of your exercise routine, or it is for unwinding and relaxing. You will allow the body to return to its usual state of rest by slowly adjusting to the exercise when you warm up and cool down. Warming up and cooling down is also a perfect way of preventing health problems and injury.
Stretching arms and legs
You should begin your pre-run warm-up by using behind shins (calf muscle), front of thighs (quadriceps), and back of thighs (hamstring) warm –ups. When you start with the hamstrings, you should gently and slowly fold forward at the hips and use your arms to aim to the toes. It is great if you manage to touch your toes but if you fail to do so, you should simply go to a point that offers you a nice stretch that does not hurt. You should then hold so that you can count to ten.
Stretching your quadriceps
After you finish the aforementioned step, you should balance by using your extended right hand or place it onto a nearby wall in order to stretch your quadriceps. Next, you should bend your left leg’s knee and use your left hand to grab the foot that is behind you. You should then hold this stretch so that you can count to ten before releasing and repeating on the opposite side. You should face a wall approximately 3 or 4 feet away. Place the hands on each wall but if you are extremely close to the walls, walk the legs out so that your calves can feel a very nice stretch, with the back flat. You should stretch on foot and bend one knee up to the ground so that you can alternate stretching the calves very slowly and repeat this on the opposite side. You can do this for another round of ten.
Performing simple stretches
You can warm up your whole body, and sometimes make your upper body stiff as you run, especially if the run is very long by performing simple stretches of the triceps and shoulders. You should raise an arm directly above the head before bending the elbow in order to put it next to the ear. You should push the elbow slowly until you can feel a nice stretch. Repeat this on the opposite side. You should then make small and large circles back and forward with each arm straight out to each side in order to warm up the shoulders. You should balance by circling counter-clockwise and clockwise.
Starting your run
You should begin your run by using a warm-up walk – not too slow and not too fast. Walk for about two minutes at a moderate pace in order to allow each muscle in your body to warm up slowly. Next, you should jog slowly for about three minutes and then come to a gentle-paced walk. This will help in accelerating the warm-up and starting to encourage the oxygen and blood to flow to all parts of your body.
Slowly decrease the running pace that you were using to a very moderate jog for approximately three minutes and then come to a very gentle-paced walk. This will help in allowing your body to decrease the heart rate and naturally slow down without shocking itself. Your body requires an opportunity to cool down slowly by returning to the normal heart rate. You can also use the warm-up stretches that you did when you started to end. This can help in preventing fainting, dizziness, and other problems if you already have a condition that affects your heart. If it does not prevent these complications, you should use your European Health Card to access free or affordable medical attention.