At The Worx Gym in Riverview we believe that running is one of the easiest and most accessible fitness activities. Almost anyone can run, at any level of fitness: all you need is a pair of shoes. However, since running can be a high-impact activity, it is important that you take a few precautions before embarking on your journey toward fitness.
Anybody who is starting a new high-impact exercise routine should consult their doctor beforehand, especially if it is a long time since they have been active. Beginner runners should be especially careful that they take things easy to begin with. That includes starting each run with an extensive warm-up session.
Warm-ups play a vital role in preventing injury to runners at all levels, but it is especially important that beginner runners pay attention to warming up. If you are a novice runner, you may not have the muscle control and body awareness that more experienced runners have. You may be less adept at avoiding injury, and you are far less likely to be able to control your pace while running. This means that beginner runners are far more likely to suffer injuries and setbacks, especially if they take things too fast to begin with.
If you are new to running, a quick yet extensive warm-up will give your joints, muscles and bones a chance to loosen up. It will also allow you to raise your heart rate and respiration rate gradually, making it much easier to find a rhythm that works for you once you begin to run. Not least, a warm up will allow you to focus on what you want to achieve, reach a state of concentration, and relax. These psychological factors are important, especially if you are new to exercise and you are trying to break old habits.
Once you lace up and set out for your run, take a brisk walk. This is the perfect way to let your body transition from sedentary mode to workout mode, and it is especially important if you are trying to let out the stress from a long day. Take note of any parts of your body that feel sore or tight. Think about what you want to achieve. Finally, let yourself find a natural range of motion. Walking increases the blood-flow to your muscles and brain, signalling to the body and nervous system that it is time to exercise.
If you find it hard to get started when you go for a run, try jogging at a very easy pace for a few minutes. Give your legs a little shake. Listen to your body. It's time to get things started. Now try some stretches. The most up-to-date research has reported links between "static" stretches before runs and an increased rate of injury, so try some dynamic stretches instead. Skipping helps loosen the muscles, as do exercises such as squats, backwards jogging, and high-knee steps. Next, you should try lifting your legs straight out in front of you, then side-stepping to and fro. You should be focusing on form more than anything when you carry out these exercises, since the idea is to strengthen and control the muscles used for running. Research dynamic stretching exercises for the muscle groups that you want to target, and repeat these exercises ten times before you go for a run.
Developing a warm-up routine is simple and easy, and it has enormous benefits for beginning runners, both psychological and physical. Take five minutes to warm up and appreciate your muscles before each workout, so that you can continue with your fitness journey in a positive manner, free from injury.
If you need assistance with your running or any other health fitness needs, contact a member of our team at The Worx 24hr Fitness in Riverview & Lithia.