Prepare Your Knees For Running
Most runners are tempted to hit the trail directly without warming up; this is usually the case if the weather is conducive. Taking time to prepare your body and most important your knees for the run makes the difference between a knee injury and a perfect race. Warm up knee exercises do not take long. A successful warm-up session is essential to prepare your knees to bear the pressure from the run and help you maintain the pace for your run.
Importance of warming up before running
Over 40% of injuries in runners involve the knee joint. The knee is one of the most important body parts for runners. Runners use their knees than any other sportsmen.
This is the reason why one must warm up before setting out for their run. Common knee injuries associated with running include; Bursitis, runner’s knee, walk it and Iliotibial band syndrome.
Though walking seems to be a very simple warm-up, it is perfect for warm up before running. Walking mirrors movements, you will perform when running but at a slower pace. This exercise prepares your knees for more demanding work in running. Walking avoids immediate stress on your knees.
Typically, any exercise should start at a low intensity as you progress to a higher intensity. The rationale behind this is to prepare your body before the real action. Since you are preparing to run, walking is an ideal exercise that will eventually graduate into a run.
You should warm up for about 5 minutes before you start running. Experienced runners can begin with a fast walk that will graduate to jogging and later running.
Strengthening knee muscles
After walking or jogging, your body starts to appreciate the increasing activity. At this juncture, work on strengthening muscles around the knee joint.
A combination of exercise can easily achieve this. Consider squats and lunges for the practice. You can choose to have; 15 sumo squats, 10 side lunges on either side, 10 forward & backward lunges, 15 squats with feet together, etc.
Increase the warming-up intensity
As you conclude your warm-up session, get into intense aerobic exercises that match the intensity of your run. Select heavy duty weight exercise that will make your knees ready for the run. You can opt for butt kickers for another, skipping blocks, or high knees for a third. In case of pain at the moment, minimize the intensity of the exercises to see if the pain will fade. Any pain that extends for several days needs the attention of your doctor.
Other exercises you can use to prepare your knees for running include butterfly, standing quad stretch, knees to chest, crossed leg side bend stretch and hip flexor stretch.
The value of warming up before a run cannot be overemphasized. This is the secret to a successful run and avoiding injuries to the knee joint when running. Always take time to prepare for your run. It only takes around five minutes to prepare your body for the exercise, and you are set to go.