Current research shows that using dynamic stretching versus static stretching is an excellent and preferred way to warm up the body before exercise, including running. Dynamic stretching prepare the joints for movement and the muscle for activation. It consists of controlled limb and torso movements, that gently take you to the limits of your range of motion, without bouncing or holding positions. Since dynamic stretches are movement oriented, these stretches can help generate heat, which can make the muscles more pliable.
Static stretching, on the other hand, consists of stretching a muscle (or group of muscles) to its farthest point and then maintaining or holding that position for 30 seconds to 1 minute. This should be performed once the muscles are warm. This can be utilized to release muscles after exercise and improve some flexibility.
Considering this however, most experts now agree that while static stretches have benefits, it is best to do more dynamic stretches. These stretches require you to use and build your own strength while moving through the stretch, and are essentially more helpful for improving functional movements used in sport and daily activity. Furthermore, evidence suggests that because dynamic stretches utilize both muscle activation and contraction, the muscles may be triggered to relax even more during a static stretch, which may reduce the risk of injury while increasing functionality.
Heel kicks, marching knees, ankle and arm circles, leg swings, arm swings with torso twists and standing roll downs are a great combination of dynamic stretches that can help prepare the body to move. Check out the video below to see some of these quick easy ways to dynamically warm up the body before your run or other exercise.