4 Stretches to Warm Up for Cold Weather Running

Don’t let the cold temperatures stop you from getting your run in this winter- we have 4 warm-up stretches that will get you ready for a chilly run. Dynamic, movement based stretches can help increase flexibility – and help prevent injuries.

Begin warming up with a few minutes of walking to get your blood flowing.

1. Standing leg swing

Stand with your right side a few feet away from a wall or post and reach your arm out to the side to balance.  Then, keeping your right leg straight, swing it straight out in front of you reaching forward with your left arm out towards your toe.  Let your leg swing straight back behind you like a pendulum letting your left arm rest.  Continue swinging and reaching for about 20-30 seconds.  Then, face the opposite direction, balance with the other hand and swing the other leg reaching with the opposite arm. This dynamic movement should open up your hips and get your blood flowing.

2. Skipping arm swing

To really get your whole body warmed up, begin skipping. Reach your arms out like at “T”, then swing your arms across your body (like you’re giving yourself a hug).  While you continue to skip, reach your arms out then swing your arms back across your body alternating which arm is crossed first.   Continue skipping and swinging your arms for about 15 yards.

3. Walking toe touch

Take a step forward with your right foot and, keeping your right leg straight, slightly bend the left leg as you reach down towards your toe.  Hold the stretch for a few breaths, then standup walk for 3 steps and repeat the stretch with the left forward and the right leg slightly bent.  Continue alternating and stretching for about 15 yards.  This should stretch the back of your leg including the hamstrings and calf.

4. Walking quad stretch

Start by bringing your right leg back, grabbing it with your right hand and bringing it back towards your butt.  Hold for a few moments as you feel a slight stretch in the front of your leg.  Release, then take a few steps and bring your left leg back grabbing it with your left hand.  Continue walking and alternating legs holding the stretch for a few moments each time.

These warm-ups can be done inside or outside.  The goal is to get your blood flowing to key muscle groups so they’re ready to go to work once you start running in the cold.

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