A warm-up and a cool-down are essential for any workout. Warming up helps to reduce the risk of injury and excessive soreness after your workout. A cool down increases flexibility and range of motion and gradually slows down your heart rate.
A warm-up should be just enough to stretch and heat up your muscles, but not anything too vigorous. It's okay to break a light sweat, but it's just a warm-up, so don't over do it. Traditionally, static stretches have been the go-to, pre-workout warm-up, but they just don't do the trick like dynamic warm-ups do.
What Are Some Dynamic Exercises For Warming Up?
Jumping jacks/jump rope. This is a great way to get your body warm and your heart pumping a bit. Do it for about 2-3 minutes.
Body weight squats. Body weight squats are a good way to stretch and warm up the lower body. Do about 20 of them.
Push ups. Start with 10 and work up to 20 depending on your level of fitness.
Lunges. Do several on each leg.
Hip rotations. While standing, bring one knee up to a 90 degree angle and then swing it outward. Repeat and alternate with the other leg.
Arm swings and shoulder rotations.
Now, if you are new to fitness, this may seem like an actual workout, not just a warm-up. Go ahead and start slow, do what you are comfortable with. The important thing is that you effectively warm up your muscle groups and get moving.
How Do I Cool Down After A Workout?
Cooling down is about slowing down your heart rate. Take advantage of those now-heated up muscles and really stretch them to increase range of motion. A good cool-down is a satisfying way to end a good workout.
Slow your pace. If you’ve been running, don't just abruptly stop after your time/miles are up. Slow down your pace, and then walk for a bit to get your heart rate back to normal.
Calf stretches. While standing, press the ball of your foot against a walk to stretch out your calf. repeat on the other foot.
Hamstring stretch. Sit down on the floor with legs straight in front of you, then lean forward to gradually stretch out your hamstrings.
Knees to chest stretch. Lie on your back, bringing your knees up to your chest. Hold for a few moments.
Be sure to hydrate.
It is always a good idea to warm-up and cool-down, you should not take a shortcut here. A vigorous workout without a warm-up can potentially cause you to injure yourself.
If you are serious about starting a new fitness routine, but don't know where to begin, you may want to contact a personal trainer who can get you started. A personal trainer can tailor a workout to help you reach your goals faster, and keep you motivated. Contact Ralph Roberts at the Downtown Athletic club to find out how a personal trainer in Amarillo can benefit you.
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