Pretty Girl stretching before fitness training

Are you warm enough?

Are you warm enough?

We all know that we should warm up before getting down to the nuts and bolts of our training session, but how good is our actual warm up and why should we do a warm up at all?

A warm up is some gentle exercise done before you start training, it can involve a variety of activities and should involve some gentle cardio work to raise your heart rate and body temperature and some stretching to loosen you up.

Your body won’t thank you for launching straight into a high intensity workout from ‘cold’ and you are more likely to end up with an injury if you do so without getting your body ready first. A warm up helps your body prepare for exercise it’s about to do in the following ways:

  • Increase in blood flow and oxygen to the muscles and organs
  • Prepares muscles for stretching and exercise
  • Prepares your heart for an increase in activity

Basically it helps your body prepare for the more vigorous exercise you are going to undertake, making it less of a shock to your muscles and organs when you start your higher intensity training. I also believe it gets your head in the right space to focus on your body and its requirements for the exercise, but maybe that’s just me!

With this in mind what kind of warm up should you be doing? Well, it really depends on what exercise you are about to get stuck into, but as a general guideline here’s what you are looking at:

  • General exercise 5-10 minutes, enough to get a light sweat
  • Stretch to help loosen muscles and ligaments

If you are doing a focused exercise, like running or cycling, where one group of muscles are getting a lot of attention, it pays to focus more on those muscles during warm up. For these types of exercise a slower paced version of the exercise gets your body ready for taking on the more vigorous version of it.

Your warm up can also be used as a way to help your body work through any limitations, if you have problem areas that bother you during a specific workout make sure you pay attention to them by including some stretching of that area once you have done your gentle cardio. By including specific remedial stretches in your warm up you are building strength into that area and giving it some extra TLC to ensure you avoid injuring yourself.

Next time you work out on your own make sure you take the time to do a decent warm up, your exercise will be improved and your body will thank you for it later on!

Here is a great general warm up to do on your own:

  • 5 minute jog
  • Squats, lunges, high knees, pushups, big skips, arm circles, jump jacks
  • Skipping different combos

Happy training!

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