Don’t Go Cold On Your Warm Up
When you go for your regular workout, you wear the right clothing and you bring the right refillable water bottle. You load up your song list and you get yourself ready to run along to the beat. Preparing yourself for a workout also takes a mental prep, whereby you talk yourself into walking into that gym every time you go rather than veer off toward the nearest McDonald’s. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been committed to fitness, you should be prepared for every single workout that you participate in.
Preparation stops you from walking into the gym not knowing what you’re there for or which workout to do. Wasting time with a workout that is ineffectual is only going to serve you badly, so you have to figure out your workout before you actually begin it. There’s nothing worse than getting into the gym and staring at all the equipment instead of knowing what you want to use and how you want to use it to get your body into the right shape. Once you have your workout plan, you need a good snack. You don’t have to eat a whole meal before you head into the gym, but you do need to consider a nutritious snack before you go in. A hungry stomach or a cramping stomach is one that can distract you from working out effectively. Not only that, you need an energy boost to get you through the whole thing. Fuel up on any one of these pre-workout snacks to ensure that your workout is effective.
A good workout features a playlist that makes you feel like you’re about to rock out like Dave Grohl in concert. Plugging the hours in the treadmill can be boring; running on the spot often is. Use earphones like these that are designed purely to stay in your ears when you run. It makes it so much easier. While we’re on the subject of things that make your workout easier, how about a good warm up? Did you know that a lot of people forgo the warm up portion of their workout because they simply don’t want to waste their time? The thing is, the waste of time would be to workout without preparing your muscles correctly. You need to be able to run and lift weights, and without the proper warm up you could do yourself an injury. Trapping nerves and pulling muscles is no fun, and if you want to avoid potential physio and carpal tunnel surgery, then you need to pay close attention. It doesn’t matter how much of an athlete you are, a proper workout is necessary. The warm up stimulates the cardiovascular system and gives your muscles a chance to stretch and become more limber before you go hardcore into lifting or sprinting. Working out on muscles that haven’t yet woke up for the day is the quickest route to an injury that could end up life-changing. There are six main reasons you should warm up before you work out:
- The increase in body temperature increases the amount of blood flow to active muscle.
- The rate of energy that is produced is increased with the raise in body temperature.
- Your muscle reflex timing is better with muscles that are higher in temperature.
- Warming up is good for the heart. You could put far too much stress on it and this is dangerous.
- Tendon and ligament injuries are far less likely with a proper warm-up.
- Mentally, you could feel more prepared with a warm up.
The one thing that you should know, is that there are also different types of warm up that you could participate in: passive, specific & general. We’ve described these for you below, so you can pick which is right for you:
- A passive warm up is the least effective warm up method that is out there. Passive warm ups include using jacuzzi, steam and even sports creams that help to warm the muscles. This the least effective, as a warm up can help to raise your heart rate, but a jacuzzi doesn’t have quite the same effect. You need to work on increasing the temperature of the muscles deep within, and these methods don’t allow for that.
- Specific warm ups are important for skill activities. When you go out for tennis, basketball or football, you need to be specific for the way that you warm up. Specified muscles are used during an activity like basketball, so push ups would likely be used in the warm up for someone about to play to warm the arm muscles. They may also do some gentle running warm up exercises to get pumped.
- A general warm up to raise the body temperature and gently warm up the muscles stimulates the entire system. This can include jumping jacks, squats and running on the spot (knees up!) and these exercises give your body an all over warm up.
A warm up doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time; five to ten minutes at the start of the workout is crucial to ensure that your heart rate stays up throughout the workout. Cooling down after a workout is just as important, as it stops the blood from gathering in the extremities of the body. It also gives you a moment to take a rest and catch your breath all over again. Throughout everything, you should be wearing the right workout clothes from top to toe. Hair should be back and out of your face; your clothes should be clinging but breathable; you don’t want anything to chafe. You need support in your workout clothes where it counts and you should buy supportive trainers as well.
Working out doesn’t have to be a chore, and it also doesn’t have to cause you an injury if you do it right. Don’t go cold on your warm up. Bring your water, load up your playlist and get your groove on while you get fit.