Given its simplicity and accessibility, running is an extremely popular method of exercise—all you need are a pair of running shoes, some appropriate clothing, a route to follow or access to a treadmill and you can start exercising. Want to maintain a healthy bodyweight? Running can do that. Want to improve your health or reduce stress? Running can do that. Want to test your fitness level or need some additional motivation to exercise? Register for a running race or event  and you’re set.

Of course, while running is easy, accessible and beneficial, you have to know how to do it properly so you can enjoy it for years. One of the ways you can help prepare your body to perform its best once you start running is to first perform a dynamic warm-up, which offers the following six benefits:

Whether you’re a longtime runner looking for a more effective way to train or you’re a beginning runner, the following dynamic warm-up will help make sure that every step you take counts. Note: These exercises are also very effective for an active recovery workout the day after a really hard training session, when your muscles are still sore and you want to move but you don’t want to overwork your body. In addition, they can also be used for a stand-alone mobility workout on those days when you might be dragging a little bit and want to work out but don’t want to push yourself too hard.