What comes before every good work out? An even better WARM-UP.
Not buying it? We’re here to tell you why!
A the most basic level, a warm-up does just that – warms you up! It helps increase the temperature of your muscles, making them contract & relax more efficiently. By increasing your heart rate & supporting blood flow, a warm-up makes the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the physiological systems (the ones working hardest) more effective.
A proper warm-up increases range of motion, makes the body more flexible and allows for better movement. Without an appropriate warm-up, you are increasing your risk for potential injury. All too often as physical therapists, we treat injured runners that don’t perform any type of warm-up.
Goals of a warm-up:
1. Increase heart rate
2. Open up your joints
3. Actively stretch your muscles
4. Reinforce great posture
A good rule-of-thumb is to complete 5-10 minutes of light aerobic exercise (brisk walk, march, slow jog, stationary bike, etc.) and then include a few dynamic exercises/stretches (forward or lateral walking lunges, butt kicks, high knees, leg swings, opposite toe touches, etc.). A dynamic warm-up not only increases overall flexibility, but also improves running performance.
Be sure your heart rate is up before you start running. Remember to start slow & gradually increase your speed. You should be breathing easily; if you notice you are out of breath right away, slow down.
Towards the end of your workout session/run, set aside the last 10 minutes to safely cool down by gradually reducing the pace of your exercise. This will bring your heart rate and blood pressure back to its normal level – the level it was at prior to exercising. This also allows your muscles a chance to actively recover and decreases injury risk.
Follow the above tips and you’ll stay out of our office. Are you experiencing pain and want to get back to pain-free running? Come to Rejuv Medical to be evaluated by one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy. Call 320-217-8480 to schedule your appointment!