With the new year upon us and the heightened enthusiasm about getting fit, don’t underestimate the importance of a good warm-up before working out. The warm-up should be part of every exercise routine for several reasons:
- Warming up your muscles will increase the blood flow to the working muscles. In addition to increased blood flow, warming up will loosen up your joints, allowing them to move more freely. This prepares them for the impact of exercise and can greatly reduce the risk of any possible injury while exercising.
- Stretching before your workout is one good way to warm up muscles and prepare them for exercise, and a good stretch after you workout can greatly improve muscle recovery time and reduce the amount of soreness felt after exercising.
- Another good way to start your workout is a light jog on the treadmill for about five minutes. But keep in mind, this is just a warm-up – you don’t want to be breathing heavily during or after you finish the warm-up. And your warm up doesn’t have to be allocated to just the treadmill, any form of aerobic exercise will do.
- If you choose to jog on the treadmill or choose some other form of aerobic exercise as your initial warm up, you should follow up by lightly stretching the muscles you intend to work out. This will prepare them. You should perform each stretch slowly, stretching to a comfortable point and then holding it for about 30 seconds. Do this for every muscle you intend to exercise.
If you follow this simple routine every time you exercise, you’ll get the most out of your workouts, making them both safe and fun. So now that you know the importance of warming up prior to exercising, try and make it a part of every session and you’ll feel the benefit of a more effective workout.
Billy Katz and Hudson Ellis are the co-owners of Simply Fit gyms, located throughout the New Orleans area. Please email your health and fitness questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.