It seems that warm weather has come and gone for Nashville.. and then it came back for a minute, but then it left again. With the temperatures dropping (and actually staying low), it's more important that ever to prepare our bodies thoroughly before sinking into the aerial abyss. A proper warm up does so many good things for your body including preventing injury, improving your stamina, and preparing you mentally for the workout you're about to endure! Olivia Newton-John has her own way of getting physical, but we can assure you a proper warm up can keep you feeling just as sexy (minus the intimate restaurant and the suggestive movie). Keep reading for tips and tricks on how to warm up before getting physical.
- Warming up allows the heart to slowly climb to a higher heart rate, preventing undue stress on the heart later in your workout and countering early onset fatigue. This means you get to experience a longer workout and feel stronger during it!
- Higher body temperature, and therefore muscle temperature, improves reflex and contraction times. This may be an advantage when taking on new tricks!
- Movement during a warm up lubes up your joints! All of our joints are surrounded with synovial fluid. When you're moving those joints during your warm up, you're essentially splashing that fluid onto the areas of the joints that go untouched by the blood vessels. A solid warm up ensures that your joints are coated and makes for more comfortable movement in otherwise stressed areas like the knees, shoulders and hips.
- Increased bloodflow maximizes elasticity in muscles, tendons and ligaments, helping to prevent injury. In an atmosphere like ours, flexibility is extremely important. Spinning, twirling and hoisting your own body weight into fabric, a hoop or around a pole is stressful on the muscles. Warming up guarantees an increased oxygen and blood flow throughout the body, giving your soft tissues a more rubberband-like ability.
- There are psychological benefits to warming up as well. Studies show that participants tend to feel more mentally prepared to take on a workout when a warm up is conducted prior. As cheesy as it sounds, a positive attitude is everything. Prep your body and your mind for a more successful session!
Let's Get Physical:
- Hop on a stationary bike for 5-10 minutes
- Do a few sets of jump squats
- Jog in place
- or have your own little dance party!
Static stretching is a BIG no-no before your body is warm and all worked out. It can actually do more harm than good! You'll want to stay clear of "flex-and-hold," or gym class type stretches. Think of lengthening the muscles through slow and controlled movement, more like yoga or pilates. For instance:
- Hip Swings- Kicking the leg forward and backward, pointing the toe during the frontal motion and flexing in back
- Slow Neck Rolls
- Shoulder Rolls
- Flexing the Wrists
- Rolling the Ankles
- Torso Twists
Do you have any tips and tricks to keep your body warm during the winter months? Let us know in the comments!