With a million tasks on your to do list, a schedule full of social obligations and meetings, not to mention work, it’s so tempting to just run and be done. Maintaining a running routine feels like enough of an accomplishment on its own that we often forget about the extra little things that we need to do to stay healthy – like warming up before a run.
Although completing a few warm up exercises before running only takes a few extra minutes, it often feels like a drag. As runners, we want to get out there and start running immediately. It’s tempting to skip the warm up routine altogether – that is, until we wind up sidelined with an injury.
Adding a warm up before your run is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy, injury free, and make the most of your time on the run. Luckily, these running warm up exercises are fairly simple and easy to complete.
One of the best ways to warm up before a run is to complete a few dynamic stretching exercises.
Dynamic warm ups are a powerful tool for runners.
Completing a variety of dynamic warm up exercises prior to your run takes as little as one or two minutes, but is crucial for your success as a lifelong runner.
Dynamic stretching involves completing a few stretching exercises with the addition of movement. Contrary to popular static recovery stretches that involve holding a certain position for an extended period of time, dynamic stretches involve lengthening the muscles through movement.
Not only does a dynamic running warm up help get your blood flowing, but it loosens up your muscles prior to heading out on a run. These dynamic warmup exercises help prevent injury due to tight muscles, and signify to your body and brain that you are about to begin a run.
Incorporating just a few simple pre-run warm-up exercises will help you avoid pain during and after your run.
These 7 simple dynamic warm up exercises are an easy way to start your run. Complete them inside before leaving the house or outside in your driveway. All it takes is a short warmup to enhance your run and keep your body injury free.
Try this easy running warm up routine before your next run!
7 Must Do Dynamic Warm Up Exercises for Running
Standing Leg Extensions
Complete this warm up stretch one leg at a time. Balance on leg while bringing the opposite knee up towards your chest, and then extending that foot forward to straight your elevated leg. Complete about 10-15 leg extension on one side and then switch legs.
Knee Hug to Chest
Complete this warm up exercise one leg at a time. Balance on one leg while bringing the opposite knee up to your chest, and then hug it with your arms to bring it closer. Hold for about 10 to 20 seconds and then repeat on the opposite leg.
Forward Leg Swings
Complete this dynamic exercise one leg at a time. Balance on one leg as you swing the opposite foot out in front of you, reaching as high as possible. From here, swing your leg like a pendulum reaching behind you as high as possible. Complete 10-20 leg swings before switching to the other leg.
Lateral Leg Swings
Complete this dynamic exercise one leg at a time. This lateral leg swing is similar to the forward leg swing, except you are swinging your leg side to side rather than front to back. Balance on one leg while you swing the opposite leg over to the right as high as possible. From here, swing that leg across your body like a pendulum over to the left. Complete 10-20 leg swings before switching to the other leg.
Bent Leg Circles
Complete this warm up exercise one leg at a time. Balance on one leg and swing your opposite knee in a circular motion up towards your chest, then out towards the right, back down and around to your chest again. Complete 10-20 circles before switching to the other leg.
These warm up exercises can be completed either in place or moving forward. Complete about 30 skips in total, trying to reach your knees up as high as possible with each skip. Skip slowly, focusing on balance and form with every movement.
Similar to the skips, these exercises can be completed either in place or moving forward. Jog slowly while kicking your heels up towards your butt each time. Your heel should make contact with your butt as you continue to jog and alternate sides.
Completing all of these dynamic warm up exercises takes no more than 2 or 3 minutes, but greatly enhances your run.
Adding a simple pre-run warm up routine also helps prevent injuries by loosening your muscles before beginning any taxing activity, such as running.
More running warm up tips:
- 5 Amazing Dynamic Warm Up Routines
- The 10 Best Leg Stretches for Runners
- 6 Habits of Runners to Prevent Injuries
- How to Overcome Common Causes of Running Pain