Since a lot of people are involved in physical exercises, it is imperative that they warm up before exercising or doing any strenuous activity. A warm-up is necessary to prepare the body for exercise by increasing heart rate and blood flow to working muscles.
Many have repeatedly ignored going through the warm up stage before working out, not knowing the consequences of doing so.
Why warm up? Warm up before exercising is crucial because they get your muscles ready for activity. Without warming up, you not only risk injury but you also get less from your workout.
An effective warm-up gets your muscles to activate via the stretch reflex, an automatic response your body has when a muscle is lengthened.
Several changes takes place in the body once physical activity is initiated so it is very important to warm up before exercising
A person’s respiratory rate, blood flow, and oxygen and nutrient levels delivered to the cells increases.
The rate of increase should be regulated in a steady pace to prepare the body for the physical stress that exercise will demand. If one foregoes this priming procedure, the body will function less efficiently and the workout will produce less quality results.
Warm up before exercising preps the nervous system, heightens mental awareness and alertness, and loosens up joints and muscles to make them less prone to injuries.
Warm ups jump starts the fluid located in the joints, minimizing the risk for wear and tear of the muscles. It gives the heart a suitable period to adjust and pump up blood and nutrients into muscles.
This is vital for older people, since they have tissues that are less supple; they have joints with less fluid, and weaker hearts. Sudden exercise can produce heart attacks to older people.
How does a person warm up before exercising properly? Initially, it can be done in any procedure that enables the heart to beat faster. Below is a set of simple warm-up exercises to get you started.
Arm circles — 8 reps forward, 8 reps backward
Arm circles are a great way to loosen up tension in the shoulders and get the joints warm
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms by your sides.
Slowly swing your arms forward in a circular motion.
You should feel your shoulders loosening up as you go.
Continue the circular motion for eight reps.
Then, circle the arms in the opposite direction for eight reps.
Hip Circles — 8 reps outward, 8 reps inward
Hip rotations are a great way to loosen up the hips
Stand with feet together.
Raise one knee to 90 degrees.
Circle the hip out, making a big circle with your knee.
Make the movement as wide as you can while staying stable.
Keep circling slowly for eight reps, then switch direction for another eight reps.
Repeat on the other leg.
Reverse Lunge to Knee Raise — 12 reps each side
Lunges work the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Plus, going straight from lunge to lift requires some serious core strength and stability.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Take a big step back with your right foot. Bend both knees, lowering yourself until your right knee is about 6 inches off the floor.
Push off your right foot to stand up, and bring the knee out in front of you at a 90-degree angle.
Immediately step your right foot back into another reverse lunge.
Do 12 reps on one leg, then 12 reps on the other.
Walk-Outs — 8 reps
Walk-outs are particularly good for stretching the hamstrings, and also activate your core. With this move, you’ll work on flexibility, mobility, and strength.
Start with your feet hip-width apart, arms at sides.
Bend the at hips to reach your hands to floor; crawl out to a high plank position.
Pause for a couple seconds your with shoulders over your wrists and abs engaged.
Crawl your hands back to feet and stand up. That’s one rep.
Do eight reps.
Bonus: Pick up the speed to get your heart rate pumping even more.
Squats — 15 reps
Squats work your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. And depending on what type of strength training you’re doing, there’s a good chance you’ll be doing a squatting motion at some point, with or without weight. Doing a few as part of your warm-up helps your body get used to the movement before you progress it.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly, hands at your chest.
Bend at your knees and hips to move into a squat, bringing your butt down to knee height.
Keep your chest high.
Drive through your heels to return to standing.
Do 15 reps.
Squat Pulses — 10 seconds
After you’ve done 15 squats, pulse in the squat position for 10 seconds. It works the same muscles in a slightly different way, and adding some speed raises your heart rate a bit, too. Remember to keep your back flat (no arching or rounding) and chest raised.
Jump Rope — 2 minutes
Jumping rope is one of the quickest ways to get your heart rate up and your body warm.
Jumping for two minutes at a moderate pace.
You should feel your heart beating faster.
Grab your jump rope and jump for 2 minutes.
Bonus: Jumping rope is a great warm-up for your arms and shoulders, too!
Start at a gentle pace, and then slowly increase the pace until heart beat rate increases and the body temperature rises. Its important to note that the pace should be in accordance to your current fitness level, where the activity will leave the you energized and not exhausted.
After working up a light sweat (suggested time is 3-5 minutes, longer if the person is working out in a cold environment) you should do dynamic stretching.
Stretching helps in developing overall flexibility, particularly in the spine, shoulder, and hip areas. The kind of stretching depends on the type of activity you’re planning to engage in.
For instance, if you about to play sports, the recommended kind of stretching would be the kind of sport that mimics the movements that will be done on the court or field.
If you are about to do martial arts, light sparring can be done in the quarter of the normal speed, or just simply do the movements in slow motion. Be certain that the major muscles groups are stretched for 8 seconds minimum.
It is necessary to remember to keep feet moving or do leg exercises whenever the upper body is stretched to keep prevent blood from pooling in the legs.
Remember, you should only do stretching if the muscles are already warmed up
Do not bounce while stretching. It leads to a contraction that can result in muscle tear or pull.
For weight-lifters, this is what should be done after the initial warm up. Load the bar with about 50-60% of the heaviest weight to be done for the session and perform the number of repetitions that will be done for the heavy sets.
For the second set, the weight will be increased to 80%, then eventually to 90%, decreasing to 2-3 repetitions. Afterwards, rest for about 30 seconds, then repeat the steps. After this warm up, you can now proceed to the heavy lifting for the day.
The advantage of doing the procedure is that the heavy sets will feel less daunting and can now be performed with considerably less stress.
After warming up and proceeding to the main workout, it is equally important to cool down. When a person suddenly stops exercising or lifting weights, blood gathers in the muscle and oxygen is blocked.
When this happens, a person runs the risk of having a heart attack.
So cooling down should have the same importance as warming up.
Exercise is good for the health. Everyone is encouraged to pump it up, just remember to remember all the necessary precautions not only to maximize the workout, but also to stay safe and healthy.