Life is hectic; cut out the stress, the negative emotions, poor body mechanics, but don’t cut out the humble workout warm-up.
A good warm-up will prepare you physically and mentally for your workout. The movements and stretches should increase the circulation and blood flow to your muscles and literally “warm” them up. Why is this a good thing? Warmed muscles are less likely to be stiff, and the increased blood flow means increased oxygen and power to that area. The nerves and joints are also activated by a warm-up, which allows for quicker reactions and smoother movements. In addition to the physical benefits, mental preparation during a warm-up will help you to achieve your personal goals through visualization of the different steps of your workout and using it as a time to get your head in the game.
Most experts agree that the warm-up should reflect the workout in terms of what stretches or aerobic moves should be employed. For instance, if you will be running, a light jog or speed walk could be an efficient warm-up.
A warm-up can range anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. If stretches will be a part of your warm-up, we recommend dynamic stretching instead of static stretching. Static stretching is stretching or staying in a certain position holding that stretch. Often times this can induce an injury by forcing a “cold” muscle to overstretch. Pre-workout stretches should be dynamic, meaning a flow of movement or range of motion is taking place. For example, moving your arms in a circle, or doing shoulder raises.
No workout is the same, but following the guidelines of having your warm-up match your workout in terms of range of motion, we’ll discuss 5 different ways of warming up that might work for you.
A good warm-up should involve some aerobic activity to get your circulation going. Next it should have some dynamic stretches to engage the core and muscle groups your workout will focus on. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should get you engaged physically and mentally before the actual workout. If you need help with figuring out the best warm-up for you and other tips on how to prevent injuries, give us a call at Blue Hills Sports and Spine Rehabilitation. Our team is ready to help you perform at your best!