Most people know the importance of warming up before exercising, but do you know the correct way of warming up? We can lower our chance of injury by warming up before exercising. Our workout performance will suffer, and our risk of injury will rise, if we do not do our warm-up activities properly. The right methods for warming up, the proper progression for these exercises, and their advantages will all be covered in this blog post.
Why are warm up exercises beneficial?
Warm-up exercises help transition our body from resting to exercise mode as smoothly as possible through various warm-up activities. When carried out properly, these warm-up techniques can promote blood circulation, gradually raise heart rate and lower the risk of injury.
Steps for a proper warm up
There are three parts of a proper warm-up regimen, each part involves a steady increase in intensity from low to moderate and a gradual increase of heart rate from slow to fast. This cycle continues until our breathing and heart rate have risen notably.
Part one: Basic warm up
We can begin with some low-intensity warm-up exercises such as jumping jacks for around five minutes. This helps in promoting blood flow around our body and raises our body temperature. Doing so helps us in avoiding muscle stresses by allowing muscles to adapt into the workout condition smoothly.
Part two: Static stretching
Our body goes into a preheating once the initial warm-up is over. At this time, we should engage in static stretching exercises to help relax the muscles, improve the range of motion stretching the limbs, increase flexibility, and improve agility during activity. Stretching in place is a key component of static warm-up exercises. We should stretch progressively and hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds once you have reached your maximum range. Here are some simple warm-up exercises that focus on a variety of areas to meet the needs of diverse workout requirements:
Sit cross-legged with your feet touching and straighten your waist. Then, firmly squeeze your thighs down while holding onto your feet with both hands.
Stand upright and pull your left foot back until you feel a stretch. Ensure that the knee is parallel to the ground and hold it in place with your left hand while standing straight. Repeat the same motion with your right foot.
Kneel, sit on your heels and shift your weight back. Stretch both your arms and bend forward to try to touch the ground.
Stretching before activity aims to relax the muscles instead of overstretching them. In the following circumstances, it is critical to be careful: You may need to practise easy rehabilitation exercises if you have a muscular injury. During warm-up activities, stretching too much could make the problem worse.
Blood vessels tend to contract in cold conditions, restricting blood flow to the muscles and limiting their capacity to stretch. During such scenarios, engaging in excessive stretching during warm-up can increase the danger of muscular strain.
Step three: Dynamic stretching
Dynamic stretching can be done after static stretching is completed to relax the muscles. In dynamic stretching, larger ranges of motion, faster rhythms, and repetition are done to increase muscle flexibility, boost metabolic processes, and prepare muscles for subsequent workouts. Here are some dynamic warm-up exercises you can do for around 5 minutes before beginning your workout.
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed forward, perform a squat. Clasp your hands collectively and visualize a chair behind you. Gently sit down, hold for three to five seconds, then stand up and repeat. Keep your upper body still and ensure your knees do not go past your toes.
2. Hip joint external rotation
Stand with one foot in front of the other and rotate your hips outward. Bend your leg forward gradually until it forms a 90-degree angle. Hold this posture for three to five seconds, then move to the other foot and carry out the same motion.
3.Jumping in place
Do not overextend yourself by bending your knees or jumping too high. Jump with both feet straight. In addition to stretching the Achilles tendon to lower the risk of damage, this action helps to activate the calf muscles.
Warm-up activities use low to moderate intensity movements to get the body ready for more strenuous physical activity. To know if you have performed enough warm-up exercises, though, could be challenging. How do you know if you have warmed up sufficiently? The Talk Test is a quick technique to determine whether your warm-up was adequate1. This test involves determining your ability to converse while performing the warm-up exercises.
It is easy to breathe and sing
You can have a conversation and breathe normally
It is difficult to speak, and your breathing is rapid
Cooling down after exercising is just as important as warming up beforehand
To reduce the risk of injury, it is important to perform cooling down exercises. These exercises help gradually reduce the heart rate to a normal level and promote blood circulation in the muscles, preventing discomfort and pain from muscle stiffness and injury. The movements involved in cooling down exercises are like those in warm-up exercises. However, the speed and range of motion are usually slow to fast and large to small, respectively - in the opposite order of warm-up exercises. These exercises should be performed for approximately 10 minutes, followed by a 2-minute rest period once the body has cooled down2.
Even though warming up properly can help in reducing the chances of injury, it is not possible to prevent injuries completely. To enjoy your exercises and sports completely, purchasing personal accident insurance would help reduce any potential financial burden incurred from any injuries.