Some of us are blissfully unaware that warming up our bodies properly might be a good thing to do. Some us runners kind of know we need to do it.  Ever heard of a dynamic warm-up?

Life is busy.  Who has time to stuff around doing random exercises, plus what exercises to do we even need to do?

We think to ourselves, sure the first 10 minutes of my run can be my warm-up.  Let’s just go easy to start with and all will be fine.

It’s all good until we visit that place that no runner wants to go.  Injury town.  That horrible place that can be so difficult to find our way out of.  And when we do finally leave, life gets busy again and we forget to do all the things that got us out of there in the first place.

Warming your body up properly before you stress the hell out it by pounding the pavement or trails is essential before every single run.  yes, every single run.

Here’s why.

Reason #1   Our body moves more efficiently

I think most of us know that feeling of waking up in the morning feeling stiff and our muscles feel all contracted and tight.  That’s our body not warmed up.  If we go running with all our muscles all tight and contracted, there is no way we can be moving as efficiently as we could be.  Which means our muscles, tendons, ligaments are working harder than they need to be.  If we get everything warm, mobile and switched on before we ask our body to do something that’s you know, pretty hard, it will respond with moving a lot more efficiently.  Like A LOT more efficiently.  Which equals less chance of injury and running faster and further with less effort.  Yes please!

 Reason # 2 Increases oxygen availability in our bodies

So we all know we need oxygen.  Our muscles need more oxygen when we are running.  Warming up gradually increases our heart rate, which increases your blood flow.  Increasing blood flow gets the oxygen to our muscles that they need to function at their best while running.  So the more oxygen our working muscles have, the better we will run.

Reason #3 It gets our mental game on

How often do you go out for a run not feeling the vibe?  We put our headphones on in the hope that music or a podcast will pump us up and keep us distracted from what we are doing.  I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with this.  I love listening to a good podcast as much as the next person on a long run.  Honestly though, we can’t be in tune with our bodies or running as effectively as we could be if our minds were on the task at hand.

If we want to improve at something, we need to focus.  Warming up brings focus to what we are doing.  We are preparing our body to run, whether it’s an easy run or a hard speed session.  We go through the warm-up motions and without doing anything else, it is preparing our minds to get our running game on.

woman warming up

Warm-up before your next run?

Think about including a warm-up.  It has to be dynamic.  It has to include a range of different exercises.  There are so many different options, if you want a super easy 5-minute dynamic warm up routine try the routine below:

  1. Walking quad stretch
  2. Bridges
  3. Crab walks
  4. Leg swings
  5. Lunge matrix

Seriously, even if you have to cut your run 5 minutes short, it’s totally worth doing to feel the awesomeness that running brings rather than feeling crap, sore and tired after a run.  Running faster and further with less effort, who doesn’t want that? Plus doing a dynamic warm-up without fail, will help in avoiding that horrible place called injury town.

What’s your favourite dynamic warm-up exercise?  Let me know I would love to hear it!

If you are just getting back into running check out my tips here.

Note: Eco Athlete For Life strongly recommends that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise.