Routine exercise is an important habit that contributes to great overall health. Regardless of preferred exercise methods, the body needs to be adequately prepared in order to sustain an efficient workout. Warming up before exercise primes your body before the main event, providing increased blood flow to your muscles and helping to prevent injury. The following are five tips that you can try to incorporate into your routine in order to warm up effectively before your main workout.
1. Light Cardio
Whether you are a cyclist, distance runner, or a heavy weightlifter, including some light cardiovascular exercise at the beginning of your exercise routine will help prepare your body to withstand your main workout. Walking, light jogging, or even a few minutes of pedaling on an exercise bike will elevate your heart rate, promote blood flow, and oxygenate your muscles.
Many people tend to save stretching for the end portion of their exercise routine. While it is helpful to stretch after exercise, it is also important to include focused stretching as part of your warm-up routine. Stretching can help loosen tight or achy muscles that may not have fully recovered since they were last exercised. It also promotes additional blood flow to targeted areas of the body. Taking a few minutes to stretch the muscles that will be primarily worked will prepare your body to handle your main workout and also help prevent injury.
3. Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are another popular choice to include in a pre-workout routine. Resistance bands help warm up your body with additional, intense stretching. Furthermore, they help your body gain increased balanced and stability when used routinely. Resistance bands can help add extra tension to muscles that are especially tight or stubborn, thus helping your body gain increased mobility before further exercise. In addition to serving as an efficient tool for warming up, resistance bands are great for other forms of exercise.
4. Yoga Poses
In preparation for any kind of sustained exercise, a quick yoga routine can combine the same benefits as the first three recommendations on this list all into one. Yoga helps to raise your heart rate, loosen your muscles, and provides focused attention to specific muscle groups. Additionally, the focused breathing of yoga can help prepare your mind to handle some of the stressors of a more intense workout after warming up. Whether used as a warm-up or as a main exercise, practicing yoga has several life changing benefits.
5. Warm-up Sets
Regardless of your preferred method of exercise, warm-up sets will prepare your body to handle the duress of a longer exercise session. Runners can take a short lap around the block, and weightlifters can do a set before each heavy lift, using lighter weights. The idea of a warm-up set is to focus on proper form before the main exercise in order to promote blood flow and to prevent the risk of injury.