How are you all?
During the festive period, you might not be thinking about your fitness regimen as much as usual. Most people plan to have a splurge over Christmas and New Year only to start a ‘get fit’ resolution once January swings round. Why not get ahead of the curve and focus on keeping active as we head into party season? London Bridge Hospital have some tips to make sure you’re perfectly prepared for your work out.
When doing any exercise, it's important to make sure you’re properly limbered up and ready to go. It might seem minor or an unnecessary thing to do, but warming up is vitally important for several reasons. Whether you’re doing cardio or strength training, it's important to take 5 or 10 minutes to get your blood pumping and muscles loose to take on a bigger challenge.
Warming up helps to get your brain and body into the exercise you’re about to start but it will also help to prevent injuries. By raising your core temperature and getting your blood pumping before a work out, various studies suggest that warming up will not only improve your flexibility but can also help to you to keep a stable heart rate during cardio. Common injuries from improper preparation range from sprains and strains all the way up to fractures and dislocations which could put you out of action for weeks.
Stages of warm up
Now we know why it's important to prepare for exercise but, how do we do it? There are four main stages of warming up these are:
- Increasing the heart rate, jogging or a light run will also help to get oxidised blood pumping to the muscles to loosen them up.
- Stretching, depending on what type of exercise you’re about to embark on, it's a good idea to stretch the muscles you will be relying on. For running, make sure you limber up your legs but for team sports like netball, you’d need to incorporate arm stretches in too.
- Practice, whatever the activity you’re going to be doing, it's a good idea to go through a practice run first. This will help to get your mind and body into it and will also let you know if you are ready to ramp it up.
- Mental preparation, we’ve all heard the phrase ‘get your head in the game’ but mentally preparing for your activity beforehand can get you motivated and help you envision success.
Ensuring that you cover all of these areas will help to make sure that you make the most of your workout and stay safe from injury.
You’ve warmed up and had a great session in the gym, you might be thinking that you’re done but, it's best to take 10 minutes to have a cool down. This can help to reduce your heart rate back to before your workout and get rid of lactic acid which builds up during exercise and can cause muscle tension and stiffness.