Getting warmer – harness the power of the warm-up

News Release

March 2014



At the start of the year everyone has the best intentions of getting into shape and with a growing number of individuals electing not to use a gym as part of a fitness programme, sports like mountain biking, trail running and triathlons are gaining in popularity.

“There’s a whole new outdoor fitness movement that continues to grow,” says Peter Jordan, Principal Officer of Fedhealth, the newest partner to team up with Stillwater Sport & Entertainment.

Jordan says that training like anything needs to be started slowly. “Overdo it and you’re more than likely to finish your run injured, exhausted or down in the dumps,” he says. The key is a good warm up.

Warming up is a good idea because…

A smart warm-up gives your muscles, bones and joints a chance to loosen up; gently brings up your heart rate; and makes it easier to get into the rhythm you want to sustain so you can run longer, and finish energised and excited for your next workout.

How do I warm up correctly?

Walk: Walk gently for three to five minutes, this gets your body from sitting mode into workout mode. Walking takes the muscles, tendons and joints through the same motion as running, just with lower intensity, and it raises the temperature in the muscles and core. It also speeds up blood flow to all the muscles and tells your brain that it’s time to go.

Start adding strides: Strides flood the muscles with blood, activate your fast-twitch muscle fibres, and help your body transition from walking to running. Here’s how to do them:

  • Jog easy for two minutes.
  • Gradually pick up the pace over the course of 60 to 100 metres, then

gradually decelerate.

  • After each stride walk around and shake out your legs for 90 seconds.
  • Stride back in the opposite direction.
  • You don’t have to time each stride and the exact distance of each stride is not



Be careful not to over-stride, as that’s a common cause of injury. Keep your steps short and quick as you’re taking your stride and keep your feet and legs underneath your upper body.

Do dynamic stretches. Say goodbye to static stretching (holding a muscle in a fixed position for 30 seconds or more), as it could lead to injury. Dynamic stretching (controlled leg movements) on the other hand is all the rage as it loosens up muscles, increases heart rate, body temperature and blood flow to help you run more efficiently.


Try this:

  • Skip 25 to 50 metres, gradually increasing the height and range of each skip as you go.
  • Side step/shuffle. Step to the side, 10 to 20 metres to the right, then 10 to 20 metres to the left. Progress from a walk to a jog. As your muscles warm up, you can build the intensity so that you cover as much ground as possible with as few steps as possible.
  • Weave step or grapevine. Step your right foot to the right, then step your left foot behind your right foot. Repeat for 10 to 20 metres to the right, then repeat the cycle to the left. Alternate between left and right. Start by walking, then increase the intensity to a jog, trying to move as quickly as possible.
  • Jog backwards for 50 metres, then gradually take it further.
  • Toy soldier. Keep your back and knees straight, walk forward, lift your legs straight out in front and flex your toes. Add a skipping motion as you get more advanced. Do 10 reps on each side.


Jordan says ideally one should incorporate walking, strides and dynamic stretches into your warm-up routine to get even more enjoyment from your running or cycling!


“We encourage individuals and our members to push themselves outside of a “health and wellness” comfort zone by participating in challenging outdoor events that promote improved lifestyle choices and lead to a sense of accomplishment and a positive resolve to continue staying fit, keeping active and remaining healthy,” concludes Jordan.


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