Running is a great form of physical activity to incorporate into your workout routine. When done regularly, running can help strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your heart health and help you maintain a healthy weight. Whether you’re beginning to run for general fitness or to boost weight loss, check out our beginner’s tips on how you can get the best out of your running workout.
Stretch before you run
When it comes to stretching before a run, it’s important to practice dynamic stretching to prevent injury and improve the longevity of your workout. Dynamic stretching, as opposed to static stretching, is moving your muscles in ways that do not keep them in place for long, like knee-highs or leg swings. These types of stretches improve your functional range of motion rather than flexibility, which is more important when it comes to your pre-run. Try practicing these moves for 10-15 minutes before your run to increase your blood flow and help you feel ready to hit the road or treadmill.
Begin with walking and jogging
Before you begin running on a regular basis, start by slowly introducing your body to the new activity with a walk and jog combination. Many beginners don’t have the endurance to run as long as they’d like, and starting with this combination will allow your body to adjust to the new routine and help prevent serious running injuries. For a more structured introduction on running, you can follow this simple 8-week beginner running program.
Stretch after you run
Stretching after your run is just as important, if not more so than stretching before. This time, though, focus on static stretching (which are movements that keep your muscles in place for a longer period of time). Running can cause muscles to feel stiff and sore, and static stretching will help relieve tension and lengthen your muscles for increased flexibility. Again, spend 10-15 minutes after your run performing some of these stretches.
Extend your post-workout at home
Post-exercise recovery is an essential step in any workout routine. Your running workout doesn’t end after your last stretch—it continues on after you’ve cooled down and your heart rate returns to normal. To get the most out of your post-exercise recovery, be sure to rehydrate, eat a moderate amount of protein and take a little bit of “me” time by taking a relaxing bath or practicing a self-care routine.
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