Warming up before starting your daily workouts should always come first, but how many times do you actually do it? Have you ever wondered how to warm up properly before exercising? Proper warm-up exercises reduce the risk of injuries which could make you miss out on months of training. It’s common to see people in the gym going straight to heavy lifting or any other exercise without warming up. While this might seem like a waste of time, we can’t stress enough just how important saving five minutes to warm up can save you from the risk of injuries. Every world-class athlete warms up before a competition, and it’s not for fun. On the contrary, they do it to prepare their muscles for the upcoming race or competition. Other reasons why warming up is important include:
- Lubricating your joints
- Promoting blood flow
- Raising your body temperature
- Stretching sluggish muscles
How to Warm Up Properly Before a Workout
March on the Spot
Start by marching on the spot, and keep going for about a minute or two and then start marching forward and backward. Move your arms in rhythm to your legs, keeping your elbows bent. After another minute, start a slow jog on the spot while slowly increase the speed and keep going for two minutes.
Start jumping rope with the regular two-footed jump and slowly begin incorporating other jump styles as you get warmer. There are many jump styles that you can try, but as a beginner, it’s important to keep it at a lower impact to avoid getting tired before you start your workout.
Alternating Knee Lift
With your feet slightly apart, pull your left knee towards the chest and keep your core tight. Make sure you’re standing upright with your chest raised. Repeat the same movement with your right knee. Do a few repetitions on each side for one or two minutes to stretch your muscles.
Dynamic stretches involve constantly moving your muscles to improve mobility, balance, stability and better coordination. Pick a range of motions to keep your muscles moving continuously. For instance, you could kick your legs forward, move side to side, and rotate while lying flat on the ground. The point is to extend and stretch the muscles that had minimal movement throughout the day while at work.
Increasing blood flow before a major workout reduces tension in your muscles and improves performance. To do this warm-up exercise:
- Lay back so that the roller is on your upper back. Avoid contact with the neck and lower back.
- Bend your knees and shift your body focusing on the parts of the body that feel more sensitive, especially the shoulder blades.
For a full range of motion, do several crawl-out squats to help improve core strength and maintain shoulder stability. Follow these simple steps:
- With your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, squat on the ground and place your hands on the ground inside your legs.
- Slowly crawl your hands forward until you straighten your body into a plank position.
- Hold the plank for 10-15 seconds,
- Slowly crawl your hands back to the squat position and stand up. The trick here is to force your heels toward the floor without allowing the hips to raise.
- Do a few repetitions while keeping your core tight.
Not to be confused with deep knee bends or full squats, this warm-up exercise involves bending the knees slightly to stretch your shoulders, back and to flex the joints. To do the knee bend warm-up exercise:
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart and stretch out your arms in front of you.
- Slightly bend your knees, trying to keep your chest high and your head straight, and then come back to the standing position.
- Do about 10-15 repetitions. Don’t lower yourself further than 10cm.
Joint Mobility Warm Up Exercises
These simple exercises are really helpful in ensuring that your joints are running smoothly and are well lubricated. Some examples of joint mobility exercises include shallow knee bends, shoulder shrugs, and waist twists.b You can do a set of repetitions targeting the joints that you feel are a bit stiff. Warming up your joints prepares them for the heavy workouts they are about to be exposed to. This prevents soreness and stiffness.
The amount of time you spend warming up depends on various factors such as age, temperature, your fitness level, and the status of your injuries (if any). Let’s take old age as an example. The joints of older people are stiffer and often sore. Spending more time warming up increases joint mobility and makes the workout less straining. Keep in mind that warm-up exercises play a big part in preventing injuries and should be given a priority.
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