Stretching is a great warm-up before running. It can also be used separately from running to improve your flexibility and range of motion in the joints, and it helps you develop balance and coordination.
Types of stretches before running:
Static stretching is the type of stretch that holds a stretch for 30 seconds or more. The goal of static stretching is to increase flexibility and range of motion in the joints. A good example would be touching your toes after sitting at your desk all day long.
Static stretches are great for improving flexibility and range of motion in the joints, but they can decrease performance because this type of stretching reduces muscle power, strength, and speed.
Dynamic stretching is the type of stretch that uses momentum to move your body through the range of motion. This type of stretch is great for warming up before running because it will activate the muscles you will be using while running, increase your heart rate and quickly prepare you for exercise. A good example would be high knees or leg swings on one leg.
Dynamic stretches on the other hand are great for warming up before running or working out. This is because dynamic stretching prepares your muscles to be activated while running by increasing the heart rate and body temperature. It also quickly prepare your body for exercise.
The type of stretching that best prepares the body to run is dynamic stretches such as leg swings and high knees. It increases blood flow, core temperature, and range of motion in the muscles.
Benefits of stretches before running;
1- reduce muscle tightness
2- increase range of motion in the joints
3- prepare your body for exercise
4- improve coordination and balance
5- decrease chance of injury during exercise
6- lower stress levels
7- improve performance during exercise
8- reduce muscle soreness after exercise
9- increase body temperature and heart rate (good for warming up before running)
10- decrease stress and anxiety
11- feel good
12- increases testosterone in the blood (this help reduce fatigue and recover faster form workouts)
13- increase flexibility and range of motion in the joints
14- help relieve back pain
15- decrease cortisol levels (cortisol is a stress hormone) and reduce anxiety and depression.
Is there any disadvantage of stretches before running?
1- increases time to reach maximum heart rate (this is good for treadmill running because you can warm up for a while before kicking it in)
2- decrease range of motion in the muscles because this type of stretch reduce muscle power, strength, and speed
3- increase stress levels by increasing cortisol levels. You don’t want too much cortisol before running.
4- decrease insulin sensitivity
5- increase muscle tension and reduce flexibility in the muscles
6- decrease performance during exercise
7- increase injury risk by decreasing muscle power and strength and stability of joints and muscles
8- might not improve maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) because this depends on fitness level and recovery ability.
Stretching before running is a great warm-up that can improve your flexibility, range of motion in the joints, coordination, and balance. The type of stretching that best prepares your body to run is dynamic stretches such as high knees or leg swings on one leg because it increases heart rate and body temperature quickly. Dynamic stretches also activate the muscles that you will be used during running.
Stretching before running is simply a great way to prepare your body to run by increasing heart rate and range of motion in the muscles, but you also have to do some warm-up exercises such as jogging or walking before stretching because this will increase blood flow, core temperature, and muscle strength. Warming up for 5-10 minutes is great for preparing your body to run.