What happens when you try to start your car after it has been out in the cold for a long time? The engine sputters and makes all kinds of noises but just does not start. Do you know why? The reason is that it is not sufficiently warmed up to kick into life. Your body is quite similar concerning adapting to activity. When you have been inactive for a long while, you cannot just kick into a high-intensity exercise routine. If you try to do this, you might get injured. Here lies the importance of warm ups.
Almost all fitness trainers and experts vouch for the importance of warming up properly before exercise. And they do not do so without reason. Warm ups help you.
Prepare your body for strenuous activity. This is achieved by an increase in your body’s core temperature as well as muscle temperature.
Make your muscles lose and workable. If you exercise in the morning, this is important because your muscles tend to be stiff when you wake up.
Increase your heart rate and improve breathing. So, blood flow increases and your body functions better as a whole.
So, you may be interested to know how you can get these benefits from warm ups. The key is to start, progress and end your warm ups in the right way. For doing this, you need to understand that there are four vital components of warm ups.
1. Basic Warm Up
This should ideally consist of moderate activity. If you are doing it right, you should break the light sweat within 10 minutes. Depending upon your present level of fitness, you should determine the intensity of warm ups you require. A fitness trainer can help you with this. Once your heart rate and breathing have both intensified, you can move on to the next phase.
2. Static Stretching
Basic stretching exercises are all that you need to do now. These are quite safe and you have meager chances of injury, while you loosen your muscles and increase their temperature effectively.
What you do here is create tension in the muscles you want to loosen and warm up. When you do this, the tendons lengthen and your muscles stretch. As your hold your position longer, your muscles loosen up. Your arms and legs, in particular, become more flexible than when you were at rest.
3. Specific Stretching
This type of stretching involves imitating the type of movements you’ll do while exercising. If you are going to play a game, you can do a spot of ‘shadow practice’ e.g., a golf swing minus the club, or a baseball swing minus the bat. If you are going to lift weights, flex your arms as if you are holding a dumbbell!
4. Dynamic Stretching
These movements can be the perfect way to finish your warm up routine. They involve taking a body part past its normal range of motion, but not very fast nor suddenly. E.g., a 360-degree arm rotation.
Try to incorporate these ideas into your next warm up session under the guidance of your trainer. The benefits will be there for you to experience!