The Part of Your Workout You’re Missing

Have you been skipping the warm-up to your workout to shave minutes off your trip to the gym? While it saves time, you’re also putting yourself at risk for an injury or worse.

Studies show that when you jump right into a high-intensity workout without warming up, your heart might not get the extra blood supply it needs. On top of that, cold muscles are less elastic, so they could tear more easily. When you take the time to warm up properly, blood and oxygen flow increases, improving how your muscles move and boosting your performance in the actual workout. Warming up also naturally lubricates your bones and ligaments, helping you avoid injury.

So how do you actually warm up? With simple and easy movements that get the heart rate up and muscles moving. Here are some common dynamic moves to kick off your next workout:

  • Walking or walking in place: Try incorporating larger arm movements to warm up your upper body as well.
  • Light jogging: This is a good way to prepare for long-distance runs or sprints.
  • Jumping rope and jumping jacks: These work your arms and legs, while also getting the heart rate up.
  • Low-impact aerobic movement: Choose from marching in place, grapevines or step touching (where you swing your arms out and in while stepping from side to side). By adding in arm movements, you increase heart rate slowly and warm up the upper body.

Remember, a static stretch or bouncing can be as damaging as not stretching at all.  Save those moves for your cool down.

How do you warm up before your workout? Share in the comments below.

 

Photo credit: Steven Depolo

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