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Aravind Kumar is a UESCA certified running trainer, nutrition coach, an accomplished runner and Playfiks athlete. In this article, he offers some insight into why we should warm-up and gives a handy hint on how to make sure you do... Why is a Warm Up Essential? Consider a car that sits in your parking lot the whole night. A “COLD START” in the morning can be tough, take some cajoling, and perhaps putt out before it really begins. Similar to that car, our body gets cold and stiff while we sleep. Just like using a choke to start the vehicle before driving, our body’s temperature needs to be increased for optimal performance. At Rest, the muscles receive only 10% of blood flow. During a workout, the number becomes a whopping 84%. Have you ever wondered why most of us feel sluggish initially during a run and it takes time to get into a zone? This is because the body is not warmed up properly. For such a big transition, you need to teach your body to get ready for a workout which is why a warm-up is necessary. The amount of time required to warm up depends on the distance we intend to RACE. However the thumb rule is that, the lesser the distance, the greater the warm up. Typically, one needs to warm up for 10 mins for a HM, 20-30 mins for a 10k and about 40-45 mins for any distance lesser than a 5km race. How to Warm Up? Most runners use static stretching to warm up which is not the right approach. Dynamic warm ups are always the best option because they help increase the blood flow to muscles & increase the body temperature. Some options of dynamic warm ups are: Jumping Jacks Butt Kicks High Knees Groiners Mountain Climbers Leg Swings Hip Thrusts, Hip Swings Other Form Drills How to Cool Down? Similar to a warm up, cool down is also highly essential. A proper cool down will instruct the body that the activity has ended. Imagine jumping from Gear 5 to Gear 1 directly or pulling the parking brake while driving at 100 km/hr. Having a proper cool down will help in faster recovery and smooth transition of blood flow. Incorporate at least 1-2kms of recovery miles before completing the workout. Spend at least 10 mins post run for static stretching. The muscles are generally tight post workout and they need to be relaxed. Stretching the important muscles such as Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Gluteus Maximus, ITB, calves and the upper body will reduce soreness or Delayed Onset of Soreness (DOMS). So, how does one implement Warm Up & Cool Down regimes while running. Please try incorporating this simple tip given below. NO Warm Up & Cool Down means NO Selfie & FB Post :)