The Importance of the Warm Up
In our latest YouTube video we demonstrated some stretches that can help prepare you for some time spent working in the garden. This video is a great intro to a very important piece of fitness advice: Don’t neglect your warm up!
We’ve all done it at some point or another – we have limited time so rather than taking the time to properly prepare our bodies for activity we rush straight into ‘the important part’ – the exercises or the ‘hard work’ portion of what we are about to do. Unfortunately, in our rush and hurry to get our workout in we may be setting ourselves up for injury. This can translate into more missed workouts, less effective workouts and limited ability to work out. This is clearly not worth the risk!
Remember: The Warm Up is just as important!
I don’t know about you, but when I understand the reason behind the rule I am much more likely to follow it! So let’s just take a brief moment to talk about the actual reason it’s so important.
Try to think of your muscles like they are elastic bands. When an elastic band is cold it is more likely to snap and break when it is pulled. Similarly our muscles need to be warmed up before we start using them, to prevent them from tearing. Warming up with some light cardiovascular exercise and gentle dynamic movements (ex. slow walking and reaching hands to knees and sky) gets the blood flowing to your muscles and in turn warms them up and prepares them to be used.
We love it when our clients put a high priority on getting their exercise in, but if time is limited and you really don’t feel like you have time for a warm up, then it’s better to shift your schedule around and set aside the amount of time required to do it properly.
Some great guidelines for warming up are:
-Leave time to warm up for approximately 5-10 minutes before beginning an activity
-The more strenuous the exercise you are about to do = the more time you should give yourself to warm up
-Be sure to move the muscles you are about to use in order to get the blood flowing to them (ex. if you are focusing on legs in a particular workout make sure to move the legs lots and in different directions during your workout)
-Start slow and increase your pace and intensity throughout the warm up
-It shouldn’t be painful! If you are doing dynamic movements (ex. reaching to your toes) you shouldn’t feel any pain from stretching and you shouldn’t ‘bounce’ in order to reach further
If you’ve attended our classes before then you know we always make time for both a warm up and cool down in each work out. Follow our lead and do the same when you work out on your own!