The importance of warming up before running
Even though some people tend to disregard and skip warming up before they begin a run, the fact is that this is a very important part, which definitely would not be skipped if those people were better acquainted with its benefits. Warming up is important before any serious workout including running and is one of the most important reasons for the prevention of serious muscular injuries. The risk of muscular injuries is reduced when the muscles are stretched and warmed up. Besides this, warming up improves running performance and stamina, and it also dilates blood vessels, thus providing them with oxygen in sufficient amounts. The heart rate will be raised slowly, which means that the stress on the heart will be minimal. For this reason, it is highly recommended not to stop running all of a sudden, but it should be done gradually in order to avoid rapid drop of the heart rate and blood pressure.
Exercises for warming up
Stretching exercises are a good start, and even though the bodybuilders make a difference between active and passive stretching, the truth is that it is important to do this with or without the help of some outside force (partner's help, for example). Hamstring stretch consists of extending the leg and raising the toe so that the heel touches the floor. Then it is recommended to bend forward in order to stretch the back of the leg. This should be done for both legs. Quadriceps muscle stretching is done while standing on one foot only, and in this position, it is necessary to bend the other knee and flex the leg behind so that the ankle can be grasped. The heel should be flexed to the buttocks and this position should be held for a while. Forward lunges help in stretching the back part of the leg. Calisthenic exercises can also be used, and they include jumping jacks, jump rope, and running in place, but not too quickly. Slow running for two or three minutes is also recommended, but whichever exercises the person chooses, it is important to stretch only those muscles that are already warm at least a little.
Having in mind that even five or ten minutes of warming up is enough, there should be no reason to avoid this beneficial and important part of running or working out.