Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Lots of times we are under pressure to finish our workout quickly. Its hurry up, get done, and rush off to the next thing. In this case a lot of people leave warming up out of their workouts. We think that by leaving out the warm-up we have 5-10 more minutes to really burn calories.
There are many reasons to include the warm-up in your workouts, no matter how long you intend to exercise. My major reason for including warm-ups in all the classes I’ve taught is the risk of injury. Cold tight muscles are a strain waiting to happen. Here are some significant reasons to make the warm-up important.
•It will increase your heart rate slowly and kind of like warming up your car. The body needs to be prepared for the demands you about to place on it.
•Increases muscle temperature. A muscle that is warmed up will react more effectively, such as being able to workout longer and harder.
•Increasing blood circulation gives your muscle, joints, tendons, and ligaments. This prevents injury cold ligaments and tendons are more likely to tear.
•Warming-up will help to increase your range of motion. Your joints will operate more smoothly and reduce the risk of injury.
•Warming-up increases your mental preparation. It let’s your body and mind know that it is time to get up and work together.
Facts You Should Know About Warming-Up
•There have been many studies on how long should the warm-up last. The research shows anywhere from 5-20 minutes. This decision is up to you. If you feel ready after five minutes then start there. However listen to your body—are your legs stiff, do you notice any increase in heart rate, are your shoulders and neck tight, if your answer to is yes to any of these questions then you need to continue your warm-up.
•In the past stretching has been used as the typical warm-up. The best warm-ups now are to begin with some slow, gradually increasing cardio, such as riding a stationary bike, walking on the treadmill, stretching is still a good option but better for you if you have done a little cardio first.
•Active movements can be good warm-ups such as slow jumping jacks, marching, slow lunges across the room, and lift opposite knee to opposite elbow while standing, upper body arm circles, side bends, and neck releases. There are numerous things you can do for your warm-up. It is a personal choice and you may come up with some of your own moves. Just make sure they fall within the warm-up category, not starting your workout too quickly.
•One more thing, cool-down. It’s as important to cool-down as warming-up. The muscles, joints, and tendons, need time to relax from your activity. This is where stretching comes in. Stretching is a good exercise for a cool-down. Your muscles are warm and the risks become minimal as long as you stay within the limits.
•Your warm-up and cool-down are not done in order to be impressive. It really doesn’t matter if you can touch your toes, what a matter is; you stop immediately if you feel any pain. Pain is your body’s way of saying “hey don’t push so hard”.
Always check with a medical professional if you are changing or starting any new exercise, which includes your warm-up. Be healthy, be happy.
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