by Nicolette Mok
You’ve changed into your trendy new exercise outfit and you’ve taken a leisurely stroll to your neighbourhood stadium. The stifling heat and humidity has already caused you to break a sweat, and your body feels warm enough to launch directly into your evening run.
However, doing so would have negative effects on your body, as well as your performance on the track. Apart from simply increasing overall body temperature, warm-ups are necessary for the loosening up of one’s body – from the bones, to the muscles, and the joints. They also prepare the heart for the workout that is to come by facilitating an increase in heart rate in a gradual manner.
To prepare for a run, it is recommended that one does a combination of both static and dynamic warm-up exercises. Have a go at some simple ones that will help loosen up a few of the more important muscles utilised when running!
Team Singapore hurdler Kerstin Ong demonstrates a glute stretch. Photo: SportSG
Sit upright on the ground, with your legs stretched out in front of you. Draw your right knee towards you and place your right foot over your left thigh, bringing your heel as close to your buttock as possible. Your right knee should be pointing up towards the sky.
Place your right palm on the ground and hold on to your right knee with your left. As you push it closer to your body, twist your upper body to the right. Hold for 20 seconds, then repeat the exercise in the other direction.
Kerstin demonstrating a quad stretch. Photo: SportSG
Squat on your toes, lean your upper body backwards and place your palms on the ground some distance behind you. Point your thighs away from your body as you do so till you feel a stretch at the front of your upper thighs, where your quads are. Hold for 20 seconds, relax, and repeat the set three more times.
Hamstring stretches are critical particularly for sports which require sprints and short bursts of speed. Photo: SportSG
Sit cross-legged on the ground, then stretch your right leg out in front of you. Reach out to touch the toes of your right foot, keeping both your back and right leg as straight as possible throughout. Maintain this position for 20 seconds, relax, and repeat the stretch with your left leg.
Kerstin demonstrates a high knee jog. Photo: SportSG
High knee jogs
Stand straight and maintain an upright posture throughout this exercise. Jog on the spot, pulling your knees up to a 90-degree angle with each step. Engage in this activity for 20 seconds, relax, and repeat once more.
Kerstin demonstrating the butt kick warm-up, which should not simply be kicking your own buttock, but involve bringing your legs forward in a circular motion. Photo: SportSG
This exercise incorporates jogging while bringing your heels to your buttocks. However, it should not simply involve kicking your own buttocks; the steps should involve jogging with your feet moving in a circular motion. Draw circles with your feet as you bring your heels up to meet your buttocks. Jog in such a manner for 20 seconds, relax, and repeat once more.
A side view of the high kick, also known as the hamstring kick to be done while walking. Photo: SportSG
Hamstring kicks involve high kicks with each step, and are done while walking. Start by standing upright, ensuring that you maintain this posture throughout. Take a step forward using your left leg and kick your right leg up, as high as you can go without bending any part of your body. Take a step with your right foot as you bring it down, and kick the left one. Repeat till you’ve completed 10 kicks on each side.