Lately, it seems like all of my friends have joined gyms and started socializing on long walks instead of the local watering hole. It’s a bit… strange, to say the least, but I am over the moon. I love asking them about their routines and what motivates them, but it baffles me that almost none of them warm up! Honestly, I didn’t know how important it was either until I did a bit of research. Hey, we all have to start somewhere right?
So if you’re deciding to amp up your workout (or get started on one!) here are some warm-up tips I wish someone had told me earlier.
Sure, stretching helps… but think of your muscles as rubber bands. Simply stretching before cardio or lifting weights can overextend your muscles and actually make your workout even more difficult.
You need to activate your central nervous system and improve your blood circulation to get the most out of your exercise. Jump around and get those muscles loose! When you’re ready for action, you’ll get the most out of your workout and you’ll be less likely to injure those muscles later!
When you’re properly warmed up, your muscles and joints are more flexible than normal, which means you can make the most out of your workout and get maximum results with the proper form.
So if you’re wanting to get a little more serious with your warm-ups, but a little unsure of where to start, here’s a basic (but effective) warm up:
• Jump rope for 45 seconds
• 25 jumping jacks
• 15 squats
• 10 lunges
• 10 pushups
If this seems like too much to take on at first or an ineffective warm up for your unique routine, work your way up to more each time you do it! Just remember that while it’s important to challenge yourself, don’t overdo it.
Also, if you’re incorporating weights into your fitness routine, start with lighter "warm-up" weights before you use the normal weights in your workout. Even though you’ve already warmed up, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Torn muscles are pretty painful, after all.
Additional stretches can also amp you up and prepare your body for exercise:
Author: Allison Wheeler
Allison is a graphic designer and runner from Denton, Texas. She enjoys online shopping and sharing her enthusiasm for design and photos with others. Allison is author of Wanderlings, a colorful blog where Allison talks about her favorite topics, including design, food & drink, style and life in general. Allison is also a contributing writer for Lovelyish.com, where she writes pieces ranging from fitness to gift guides to fashion.
Follow Allison on Twitter via @allisonewheeler