WARM TO THE IDEA
DO YOU GO FROM ZERO TO 100 WHEN WORKING OUT? HERE’S WHY YOUR BODY WILL THANK YOU FOR INVESTING TIME IN A LONGER WARM-UP
With many people taking on an increased exercise routine over the warmer months it’s important to start things right. Warming up should be a part of any exercise routine. Not only does it increase performance, it reduces the risk of injury and paves the way for faster recovery. Try these methods:
THE BODY HEAT WARM-UP
Otherwise known as the “just move”. Go for a light walk or jog, row, skip or use the elliptical cross trainer. Generally just move for around five to 10 minutes. This will raise the heart rate and increase blood flow to the entire body.
This is a great way to promote joint health and look after your connective tissue. It involves rotating every joint in every direction possible. Think of swimmers standing behind their blocks before big races. They windmill their arms, jump up and down and generally look like they’re expending a bit of energy. They understand the benefits of dynamic stretching to their performances. I twist, jump and move dynamically for two to three minutes, starting out with the wrists and working my way to the elbows, shoulders, back, trunk, hips, knees then the ankles. Make it fun and put a bit of oomph into it. It’ll have more effect than static stretching (which you probably did in your school PE lessons) because it has the added benefit of getting the blood flowing and activating the central nervous system.
THE SPECIFIC WARM-UP
Tailor your warm-up to move through the range of motion in the specific exercise you’re going to undertake. This is usually performed at a slower, controlled pace to promote muscle memory, increase muscle function, improve movement patterns, improve balance and co-ordination, promote flexibility and increase your range of motion. If you’re going to be lifting weights or using external objects, stay light in your warm-up and take the time to move with control. I like to complete all three of the warm-up methods so I can best perform the desired exercise with good mechanics and consistency. Remember, the human body is a machine. Just as with a car, we should avoid accelerating it one hundred per cent from a standing start. If we try to push too hard without a proper warm-up, we inevitably risk injury, leading to medical and physio expenses down the track.