Everyone involved in regular sporting or fitness activities is doing so for a very good reason: they want to remain or become fit and healthy. However, unnecessary injuries such as pulled muscles or a torn ligament can rapidly change all of that positive thinking. For that reason, it is absolutely vital that all participants in exercise activities engage in a correct warm-up routine. By paying attention to the fundamentals of preparing the body for exercise the risk of painful consequences can be brought down to a bare minimum.
A sensible sequence of warm-up exercises can help guarantee the optimum results from a workout. It is recommended by health professionals to undertake some form of warm-up activity before and after any period of sustained physical exercise. A solid warm-up should ideally last for around 15 minutes. It can be assisted by various articles of equipment such as exercise mats, pads, stepping machines and skipping ropes. However it is undertaken, a warm-up should always match the experience and level of the exerciser and not push the energy levels too much. After all, the warm-up is a starter and not the main course! Here are a selection of some of the best warm-up techniques:
Make the space your own
One of the best ways to prepare the body and raise temperature levels is to set off on a brisk walk around the exercise area. A firm upright stature mixed with strong arm and shoulder movement should result in a body ready for more strenuous activity.
Arm circles are a great and almost meditative method of preparing for weightlifting or any sports involving arm muscles. Simply move the arms in gradually widening and narrowing circles, taking care to use all of the muscles and the shoulders. When a complete sequence has been completed, move from clockwise rotation to anti-clockwise.
It is always extremely useful for both the mind and the body to carry out a brief sequence of imitation before any prolonged amount of sport or exercise. For example, if planning a skiing activity, the associated movements of hip and arm balance can be carried out in a firm and determined method. The same is true for every sport or exercise; by practising and visualising the movements to come, the body will be ready for all that is asked of it.
Hop, skip and jump
Jumping and hopping on the spot can work wonders for balance, coordination and general warming up. By using a skipping rope a warm-up routine can become slightly more intensive and would only be required for around five minutes if separate from the main work-out.
Last but by no means least comes the stretch. The most important element of a warm-up, stretches are integral to ensuring maximum capacity for exercise training and sports participation. They should always come after the main warm-up so as not to overstretch unprepared muscles and ligaments.
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