Got 5 Minutes for a Stretch?

Pressed for time but workout anyway? That’s fantastic! Can’t squeeze in the warm up ? Oops!

We  wanted to share with you some of the reason why your warm up is so important and why you won’t want to miss it before your next workout. Next trip to the gym adjust your time to accommodate at least a 5 minute warm up and your muscles will thank you. See why it’s worth it…

warm-up  Why Do You Need to Warm Up?

The purpose of performing warm up exercises is to give your heart a chance to increase the rate it pumps blood to the rest of your body. That’s a pretty important job. This increased blood flow provides much-needed oxygen to your muscles to prepare them for the upcoming exercises.

A good warm up dilates your blood vessels and when they are dilated, they can be sure your muscles get the increased demand for oxygen they need. Warming up also raises the temperature of your muscles which makes them more flexible and efficient. And by slowly increasing your heart rate you minimize the stress on your heart.

Taking the time to warm up with exercises and stretching routines also increases the elasticity and flexibility of your tendons and ligaments. Warming up lubricates your joints and gets them ready for the upcoming workload. That lubrication will cut down on injury and joint pain after your workout.

So, after you have warmed up, you are more flexible and can safely perform your stretches and other exercises. Warming up and then stretching minimizes potential muscles tears and injury.

Muscles to Target

To be sure that your muscles are ready for exercise you’ll want to warm up your major muscles like your chest, shoulders, hips, thighs, glutes and calves. It’s easy – simply marching in place and swinging your arms back and forth will target all those muscles.

To make your warm up exercise a bit more varied add a jump roping or jumping jacks. You don’t even need a rope, simply jump in place.  Add some larger arm movements like circles while marching or jogging in place.

 Tips:

  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes. If your routine includes intense exercise activity, increase the time.
  • You can simply perform the activity you plan on doing (running, walking, cycling, etc.) at a slower pace. So if your exercise routine is running or walk, your warm up can be jogging or walking slowly.
  • Warm up to wake up the muscles in your entire body. Do mild stretching of your arms, legs, neck and core.

Sports Warm Ups

If you are warming up to because you are playing a sport, then your warm up routine needs to focus on that sport. So, in addition to your warm up – target the specific muscles you will be using. Soccer? Be sure to ask your coach about exercises to warm up your legs and arms and what others on your team find beneficial. Golf? Back, shoulders and legs should also be sufficiently warmed before playing. Football?  If you are the quarterback practice throwing the football several times to warm up those particular muscles.

You get the picture – the increased, prolonged activity, as mentioned above, requires that your warm be longer and targeted for the specific muscles you will be using. They’ll need lots of oxygen and need to be flexible so you can play your best.

 

Got 5 minutes?

So now that you are aware that warm ups are simple and start easy, and you see the benefits of a good warm up – ask yourself if you’ve got 5 minutes for your muscles?

Try these from lifescript: 4 Exercises to Warm Up and Cool Down

We hope you found this useful and share with your friends. As always, thank you for visiting us – we’re wishing you the best of health!!

~ Professionals Health Connection

PS. Shopping for something to make your workout more challenging?  Visit our Fitness Shopping page for some ideas like the Ab Roller  Ab Carver  (I hate/love mine!).  Tap the link to shop.

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Author: Joan E Wilder Inc.

We are focused on providing information and motivation to other professionals about the importance of physical activity to their quality of life. It is our hope to help people invest in themselves by staying active throughout their lives. It's that important.

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