Ready, set, go –
the importance of warming up
Warming up is one of those things that is either completely overlooked or done wrong. This is often due to not understanding the importance and impact that it has on your body and the following workout. By warming up, we are telling the body that we are about to require some effort from it and a proper warm up should bring about many physiological benefits that not only reduce the chance of injury during a session but also lead to a better workout.
It is important to warm up gradually, increasing range of movement at the joints as the synovial fluid lubricates them and starts to help our bodies to move more freely, whilst increasing our heart rate and blood flow to our muscles. This should be done ‘dynamically’, meaning with movement, rather that statically holding a stretch. Holding a stretch for a prolonged period of time elongates your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which makes your muscles less effective at contracting.
When you prepare your body for exercise, ensure that it reflects your planned workout and put particular focus on the parts of the body that are going to do the majority of the work. The first thing is to get away from thinking you need to run on the treadmill for 15/20 minutes to get ‘warmed up’. A much more efficient and effective way, is to do Dynamic Mobilisation Exercise (DME). DME combines the best of both worlds, by mobilising your joints through various stretching movements done in full ranges of motion, while utilising your legs to increase your heart rate so more blood flows into your muscles.
DME can be completed in 5 – 10 minutes, or if you’re new to exercise and find these challenging, can make up a portion of your main workout. Various examples include, Over and Under’s (rotating the leg out from the hip, stepping wide and ducking across), Drop Lunge Twists (lunging one leg forward, placing both hands on the ground and then raising an arm to the ceiling), Lunge rotation (lunging one leg forward, keeping the chest high and twisting towards the front leg) to name but a few. They sound complicated on paper but are in fact simple when shown how.
If that all sounds a bit complicated, you can try arm circles, trunk rotations, body weight squats, head rolls, shoulder rolls or even dancing to get your blood pumping, but do try to ensure that you have warmed up as many joints as possible before tackling your main workout.
If you are interested in learning how to help your body move more freely and make your workouts more effective through the use of DME, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07795 600080.