What’s the most important part of your workout? It’s not how many miles you run or how many pounds you lift. It’s the warm-up you do before you begin exercising that can make or break your session.
Warming up before exercise gets your blood pumping, warms up your joints and muscles and gets your body ready for action. Research suggests that warming up may also enhance your muscular performance and help prevent injury.
But simply touching your toes or taking a quick jog on the treadmill isn’t going to cut it. However, you can crank out a four-step warm-up in less than five minutes. Here’s how.
Minute One: Loosen Up
Use a foam roller to massage your muscles and ease any knots or pain points in your body. If you hit a tender spot while rolling, pause, rest on that spot and let the pain dissipate before you move on. Roll your back, legs, glutes and hip flexors.
Minute Two: Light Cardio
Get your blood pumping by spending a minute or so on the bike or treadmill at a low resistance.
Minute Three: Dynamic Stretches
Static stretching, or stretching without moving, can actually cause injury. Dynamic stretches keep your body moving through a range of motion so you don’t risk hurting your muscles.
Try doing some big arm circles in both directions, kicking your legs forward one at a time, running through some high knees or doing toe touches and then reaching for the sky. Don’t hold any of these positions, but move through them fluidly.
Minute Four: Start Slow
Begin your workout at a low intensity. Plan on going for run? Do a slow jog and nail down your form and technique before pushing yourself faster. Plan to lift weights? Start with an empty bar or light dumbbells. Getting the movements down before you begin can prepare your body for your upcoming workout.
Now you’re ready to work out safely! If you’re looking for a new challenge, try one of Goshen Health's fitness programs. We offer a number of fitness classes, ranging from beginner's yoga to weekend boot camps. For more information, give us a call at (574) 364-2855.