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Warm Up Stretches to Prevent Injury

Whether you run in the morning soon after rising, or in the afternoon/evening after sitting all day at work, a proper warm-up also helps prevent injury.

After years and years of treating patients for the majority of the same injuries, and recognizing patterns such as not warming up and/or stretching properly, Duke developed an app, called W.E. Run, that demonstrates warm-up and stretching exercises.

The best injury-preventing warm-up for runners includes exercises that support the spine, get you locomotive, lubricate the joints, "and break up the intra-articular adhesions that get stuck in the joint and prevent it from fluid mobility," says Duke. Your hip socket is a great example—you need to warm up your hips so they can move as freely as possible to respond to slips, quick changes in stride and uneven terrain.

Duke's warm-up (full list found at http://www.active.com/running/articles/how-sports-chiropractors-prevent-injury-in-runners?page=2)  takes two minutes to complete; do 10 or so reps of each exercise and move to the next. Start each exercise in a standing position.

Move dynamically before running to prepare the body, and stretch after to ward off injury. "You never want to stretch before the run because it de-activates the muscles you want active to propel you forward," says Duke. "But it's hazardous not to stretch. Do it after you run, but it doesn't have to be immediately after—you can do it later in the day."

Stretch the following muscle groups: hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, hip flexors, quadratus lumborum ("hip hikers"), piriformis and low back, and make sure to do so every day that you run. Stretch for about 30 seconds on each side for each exercise. A complete stretching routine should take about five minutes.

Combined, the warm-up and stretches occupy seven minutes—not a lot of time compared to the hours you could spend on injury rehabilitation.

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