Warming up your body properly can increase running performance and reduce the chance of injury.
OrthoCarolina physician assistant and marathoner Aaron Hewitt recommends incorporating dynamic stretching into your pre-run and pre-race routine. Dynamic stretching utilizes slow controlled motion to increase blood flow, core temperature and range of motion to key muscle groups. This helps these muscles activate and get ready to perform at their highest level.
Hewitt has designed a dynamic warm-up routine that activates runner’s glutes, hamstring, quads and shoulders. Incorporate the below stretches at the beginning of your next workout.
Begin with a few minutes of easy toe taps, butt kicks and light bounces.
Swing one arm at a time in a circular motion. Use a slow controlled motion. Start by swinging forward and then swing backwards. Continue the motion for 30 seconds on each side.
Begin by bending from your waist. Slowly reach down to touch your toes. Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds. Slowly rise to standing.
Find an elevated piece of equipment such as a box, chair or bench. Next, place you heel with your toe pointing upward (towards 12 o’clock) on the elevated equipment. Keep your hips perpendicular to your leg. Bend and pull your belly button to your toes. Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
When stretching your hamstrings avoid pulling from your lower back or stretching from your arms.
Grab one foot with your opposite hand behind you. Stand upright, try not to lean forward. Push your pelvis forward. Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Aaron Hewitt PA-C is a Physician Assistant with the OrthoCarolins Sports Medicine Center. He is a former Assistant Athletic Trainer with the Minnesota Vikings (NFL), and is an orthopedic provider for UNC-Charlotte and Myers Park High School. He also is a Physician Assistant Team Lead for Sports Medicine, Spine, Hand & Pediatrics and a Clinical and Surgical Preceptor for Physician Students.
For acute orthopedic injuries after scheduled clinic and urgent care hours, please utilize the HURT! App, in partnership with OrthoCarolina, for fast free access to orthopedic advice with a response time of ~4 minutes. Download here.