We all want to be physically fit and trim. This is the way to go because being trim and fit is great for your self-esteem and even better for your health. The only problem is that there is no way you can get trim and fit if you lie down on the couch all day. You have to workout regularly and you have to workout the right way.
More to the point, you have to warm up properly before working out. You see, you just cannot stroll into the gym and start lifting weights. Learn how to warm up first because this is the most important part of your exercise session.
What happens when you do not warm up
Let us assume that you are a desk bound executive. Your job description includes sitting at a desk all day, looking at a computer screen and writing reports. You drive to the office and you drive back home after office hours. Maybe you have a driver and an official car at your disposal. You probably live upstairs and you always use the elevator. If this is true about you, it means that the only form of exercise you get is the short walk from the house to the garage and another short walk from your company’s car park to your office.
This means that your bones and muscles are usually stiff and out of use. If you simply walk into a gym and start working out, something is likely to snap. You may sprain your ankle or dislocate your hipbone. You may also pull a hamstring or tear a muscle or two. Just imagine being in any of the situations above simply because you neglected an important thing like a proper warm up before exercising.
Why you should warm up
Now that you know what happens to you if you do not warm up properly, I can as well tell you why you should warm up properly before exercising. First, warming up improves blood circulation and this is great for you. Your bones and muscles get enough blood and enough oxygen so you can perform at an optimal level. Again, a proper warm up improves your flexibility. This means that your muscles and your joints are ready for the task ahead so you are more likely to put in a great performance and minimize the risk of injury. You can also think of the warm up as a solid preparation for the exercise session. Your body anticipates a workout and you are in a better frame of mind to put in a truly awesome performance.
Some people have the impression that if you warm up you will exhaust yourself before the workout. This is a misconception for two reasons. First, a warm up lasts just 5-10 minutes. It is not possible that just 5-10 minutes of warming up will knock you out completely. In any case, you do not have to overdo things if you are warming up. Concentrate on warming up and leave the heavy stuff for the actual workout. Now, let us look at the best warm up moves for you.
The average man’s warm up
This is the classic warm up for the average Joe because it is not very demanding. Come on, you can do it so just go ahead.
1) Jump rope for 30 seconds
It does not matter whether you are a veteran or a beginner. The skipping rope is your classic warm up weapon. It is cheap, convenient and very easy to use. You do not even need top class coordination to jump rope. Just get out your rope and jump for half a minute. The good thing about the jumping rope is that you can practically feel the blood pumping into your veins and this is a great feeling. Use the rope and you will be primed and ready to exercise.
2) 20 jumping jacks
The best thing about this warm up routine is that it works on all four limbs at the same time. Jump around, get your hands and legs moving and you will be ready to workout. You can also add arm swings and shoulder rotations to your jumping jacks. Hold out your arms straight to the side then swing and cross them in front of your chest. You do not have to count the number of times you do the arm swings. Just do this for a minute and move on to shoulder rotations. Hold out your arms straight to the side and move your arms in a circular motion. Make bigger circles each time and your shoulders will be exercise-ready.
3) 5-10 wall push-ups
The wall push-up is just like your regular push-up. The only difference is that you are doing it against a wall instead of using the floor. You can stop at just five if you like but it is better you do up to 10 wall push-ups.
4) Add 5 lunges and 10 squats
Now, you have gone through most of the recommended warm up moves. Just add 5 lunges and 10 squats and you are done. Remember that the warm up you have just done is the easy one that everybody can do. As you get better at working out, you may require more elaborate warm ups. In that case, you simply add a few more items to the list above.
5) The plow
This is actually a yoga pose but it is a great warm up because it stretches your hips, back and shoulders. It is also easy and practically anybody can do it. Just lie flat on your back and raise your legs slowly until they are facing the ceiling. Return your legs slowly and repeat the process 6-10 times.
Add hip rotations, hip extensions and spiderman steps to your warm up routine. You can also do 10-20 push-ups and 18-22 bodyweight squats.
As you can see, a warm up is not a waste of time. It is a vital part of your workout so learn how to warm up the right way. Always warm up properly and you will workout better.