Simple Warm-Up Techniques to Protect Your Back While Running
Updated: Sep 2, 2019
Before any workout, warming up is a necessary step toward preventing uncomfortable injuries or unnecessary strain on the back. For runners, the need to warm up effectively is even more pressing because of the prevalence of injuries runners can experience. While it can be difficult to stop yourself from bolting out the door when the motivation to run hits, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor by following simple warm-up techniques focused on protecting your back, all to ensure you’re able to continue your running habit well into the future. Before you suit up for your next run, give your body the love it needs by loosening up your muscles, bones, and joints with these warm-up exercises.
Start with Your Hips
As a runner, your hips play a vital role in maintaining a healthy running routine, especially as it relates to protecting your back. The hip muscles need to be strong to help support your back while you run, and keeping them in their best form starts with stretching. An easy way to stretch your hips is to lie on your back and simply pull the knees up into your chest. Holding that position for 15 to 30 seconds and then repeating two to three times will loosen up your hips and prevent them from getting stiff during or after your run. This protects your back muscles as well.
Move Your Feet
Taking a few minutes before every run to walk around does wonders for your back – not to mention the rest of your body. Walking even for a short two minutes prior to starting your run gives your back an opportunity to loosen up, as it reduces the amount of stress placed on the spine. The more you walk, the more your spine stabilizes which helps prevent unnecessary back injuries during your run. Walking also increases endorphins release in the body which improves the quality of your run over time. The combination of these benefits protects you from mild to severe back issues as a runner.
For a number of years, experts suggested runners warm up by holding certain warm-up poses to stretch the muscles. However, elongated stretching has been linked to injuries in recent years, causing a shift toward dynamic stretching. Strength moves and exercises focused on increasing your range of motion make up dynamic stretches, and they work to boost blood flow in the body while also lubricating the joints.
Examples of dynamic stretches include lunges, donkey kicks, and front and side leg swings, all which engage the back in the process. Muscles are safely warmed up with dynamic stretching which ultimately improves your efficiency as you run while protecting your back muscles.
Following these easy warm-up techniques prior to hitting the pavement will help keep your back at its best. If you’ve experienced an injury from running that causes persistent pain, or you’re looking for other ways to maintain your bone and muscle health as a runner, contact us today.