Warming up your body for Exercise
Ever watch the elite African marathon runners before they start a marathon they plan to win? Most don’t show up to the start line with a Starbucks in one hand and no sweat on their face because they just rolled out of bed. One of the most important things you can do before you exercise is to warm your body up properly.
One of the best ways to warm up is to simply start slowly. If you are a runner with a pace of 8:30, start with an 11 minute mile pace for the first ten minutes and gradually increase your speed. It is just as easy to do that with cycling. Take your average pace and add 30%. This will slowly get your body acclimated to whatever fitness activity you are doing. If you are a golfer, start by taking half swings for your first 10 balls and then gradually open up your swing. If you are a tennis player, take a couple laps around the court first to get warmed up and get used to the surface of the courts.
If you want to get technical and have had your zones measured at Life Time or any other gym, they usually will give you a pre-workout-workout. Mine took 18 minutes on a treadmill or step mill to complete before I went in to my regular workout. It slowly warmed me up from the inside out and prepared my muscles for exercise. I wouldn’t have wanted to go that hard before a race but it was great to get my body prepared to lift weights. I found that I got into my fat burning zones quicker and more consistently when I completed it first and generally had better and more effective workouts.
Save the stretching for after your workout, don’t do it before. In the next few weeks, we will cover gentle exercises you can do to warm yourself up.
Photo Credit: Andy Newson http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=5