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Improving Performance: Warm up and Cool down

The topics we have discussed so far have covered the different injuries associated with runners.  One may get bored with constantly reading about the ways you hurt your foot, or shin, or knee, but it is important to understand your enemy (injuries) before you hit the ground running.  Now that we have those out of the way, let’s discuss the importance of a warm-up and a cool-down for runners.

You read contradictory articles about whether to stretch or not.  Some argue that a warm-up is a waste of time and inhibits performance while others believe loosening up is vital to a run.  Personally I feel off kilter and out of whack if I don’t conduct thorough warm-ups and cool-downs.  Slowly raising your heart rate is important during warm up and bringing your heart rate back during cool down. You can do that by monitoring your heart rate using our garments or your favorite Smart HRM and our new Sensoria app just posted on the AppStore. Let us know what you think!

There are numerous ways to get ready for that 8 miler, or 4, or maybe just a run around the block; either way you need to have your body and mind ready.  Static stretching is a type of stretch you were taught as a kid for P.E class to touch your toes and hold for 20 seconds and you’re good to go.  With a warm-up, you need to get your heart rate up, blood pumping, and give your muscles a high oxygen supply, unlike static stretching.

When it comes to static stretching you are increasing the risk of injury, decreasing your max performance and long term training effect.

Performing a dynamic warm-up is the most efficient and safest way to begin your workout or run.  You can do multiple activities that fall under the category of dynamic such as jump rope and light jogging, high knees, butt kicks, skipping, arm circles; be creative with it making sure you get your heart rate up and a sweat.

Your post-run cool-down is equally important as the warm-up yet many people tend to skip this part and head straight for the couch.  Ignoring to do a cool-down can drop your blood pressure causing you to become dizzy and possibly faint.  You need slow your run down to a walk for a few minutes then proceed to stretch, yes static stretch.  Whenever you complete that 8 miler, or 4, or run around the block, your muscles are warm and in return are more elastic and capable of performing static stretches; one thing I like to do is use an exercise band.  Always remember to hydrate after a workout and eat properly to be ready for your next big run.

While it may seem pointless and tedious to have to warm-up and cool-down before and after every single workout, you are benefitting your body for the long haul.  Having flexibility and range of motion are overlooked but help boost performance and break personal records and keep you from seeing the doctor.  Make a habit out of warming-up and cooling-down and you will see the great benefits.

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