An Overview of Warming Up and Stretching for Runners

The recipient of a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Wheaton College, Jayne Lessard provides care to patients as a counselor in High Point, North Carolina. Outside of her clinical work, Jayne Lessard enjoys running.

One of the major concerns every runner faces is the threat of injury, a risk that can be minimized by proper stretching. Contrary to popular belief, recent sports science has revealed the stretching is much more effective following a run rather than before the run. Working the muscles and joints is easier when the body is warm and receptive to the elastic movements involved with stretching. In fact, some experts believe that stretching cold muscles and joints can actually heighten a runner’s risk of injury.

Warming up, meanwhile, is an equally important aspect of running that should occur before a workout. Because the body is less likely to be damaged when its temperature has risen, a runner should engage in warm-up activities designed to elevate his or her heart rate and further prepare his or her body for a run.

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