This is especially important before going for a run, whether you're a casual jogger or a top-level athlete. You may have noticed that before a soccer game or an Olympic race, the athletes are doing dynamic stretches such as lunges, jumps, and squats to prepare their muscles and bodies for the upcoming exercise.
While static stretching may feel like the most familiar type of stretching, it's not necessarily the best way to prepare for a run. While it can be part of your warm-up routine, it shouldn't be the only thing you do. Static stretching is an excellent way to improve joint mobility and increase blood flow throughout your body, but it should be done after an intensive warm-up, not before.
Performing static stretching before warming up your muscles can increase your risk of muscle pulls because the muscles are "cold" when you stretch them. Ideally, static stretching should be part of your cool-down routine to help relax your muscles after the run.
Instead, dynamic stretching is the best type of stretching to do during your pre-workout routine. Dynamic stretching involves constantly moving the muscles around to lengthen them before your workout. This technique fully warms up your muscles and increases blood circulation, signaling to your muscles that they need to get ready for the upcoming workout.
There are various dynamic stretching exercises that you can incorporate into your routine before going for a run, including leg swings, hip circles, walking lunges, and torso twists. The key is to keep moving at all times. You can create a small circuit of each exercise, doing 10-15 reps of each before moving on to the next. Aim to stretch dynamically for about 10 minutes before heading out for your run to ensure that you hit every muscle and prepare your body for the workout ahead.
Dynamic stretching can help prevent muscle pulls and reduce your risk of injury, so don't forget to include it in your pre-workout routine before every run!