If you are heading to the gym, going for a run or getting ready to play a sport, your warm-up should be top of mind and the first thing you do before starting more strenuous activity.
By taking that quick 5 minutes to warm-up before you start any exercise, you’ll be able to perform more effectively and reduce your risk of injury.
Here are some quick tips to get you started:
While calf, hamstring and other types of static stretches are great for increasing your range of motion, it is not ideal for getting ready for physical activity and is better suited to the post work-out.
Instead, you should include dynamic stretches and movements into your warm up, which research shows will help you work harder, feel better, and most importantly reduce your risk of injury.
Best way to warm up:
Start your warm-up slowly with a few in-place, dynamic movements including knee hugs, lunges and twists and gradually move towards a higher-effort movement at the end of the warm-up including a short jog, high knees, skipping etc.
A successful warm-up, do should:
- Elevate Your Heart Rate: By starting out slow, you are giving your body the chance to gradually raise your heart rate prior to exercise.
- Increase Blood Flow: During exercise, blood carries oxygen to the working muscles while also transferring byproducts away. With your warm-up, you are turning those muscles on before stressing them during a workout.
- Use similar movements: The primary goal of the warm-up is to ensure the body is ready for the activity you are going to do. Therefore, include movements that resemble your activity and warm up the right muscle groups, ie. Legs or arms.
Remember to start out slow and gradually pick up the pace until your heart rate has elevated slightly, your blood flow has increased and your limbs are loose.