How to warm up before running

There are a lot of different opinions on how to warm up before running.
The fact is that everyone’s body is a little different and that means not all stretch programs fit for everyone.
However, some basic principles to consider are these:
* When you’re just starting out at the track or before jumping on the treadmill, don’t try to go through a full stretching routine right away.
* Instead, do a couple light stretches for 15-30 second counts, such as toe touches and easy calf stretches against a wall.
* Then perform light aerobic exercises for 5-10 minutes or so, riding an exercise bike, using an elliptical machine lightly, easy calisthenics, or if you’re a pretty limber person even light jogging.
* With the body now warmed up somewhat, go into your full stretch routine for 10-15 minutes. Do slow, controlled stretches, holding for 15-30 seconds. Do not bounce around on stretches.
* Now you’re ready to run. Start easy and gradually pick to your normal pace.
* Cooling down is just as important as the beginning stretches. Walk for 5-10 minutes after the run and the perform some light final stretches.
If you stretch properly before and after workouts, your body will thank you in the long run. You’ll feel looser, be less sore and, most importantly, help prevent injuries.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at