Fitness warm up programs are very important to the end results of any physical fitness program. Without an adequate warm up or cool down you will increase your chances of injury. A proper fitness warm up will also prepare your body for the workload it is about to experience.
We all know why we skip warm up. It’s either because it’s boring or because we have a scant 30 minutes and don’t want to waste even 5 minutes warming up. Unfortunately without warming up you increase your chance of injury during exercise.
Although fitness warm ups are necessary they don’t have to be boring. Your body feels ready to work and the work out is easier. In fact with a fitness warm up you’ll also be a less risk for injury when you aren’t exercising.
Warm muscles will stretch with more flexibility and you’ll get a greater range of motion. When the muscles are warmed gradually they also use oxygen more efficiently which means you don’t get out of breath easily. A fitness warm up will also improve your coordination and help to decrease any abnormal heart beats that can be brought on by sudden exercise.
Your fitness warm up can be just a slower version of the same activity you’ll be doing. So, for instance, you may be going running but will start with a ½ mile jog around the block before beginning your training. Or if you are going to spend the time biking you can warm up biking for 2 miles at an easy pace.
If you are weight training or strength training then your fitness warm up would be best performed on a stationary bike or treadmill. Warm up at a pace that gets your heart beating at 50 to 60 percent of maximum. At this rate your breathing will be harder than normal but not as hard as if you were actually jogging for exercise.
If you don’t know what 50% of your maximum heart rate is you can use this simple formula. Take your age and subtract it from 220. That number is your maximum heart rate. If you want to reach 50% then multiply the number by 0.5. For instance if you are 40 years old you would use this formula: 220-40=180 and then 180 X .5 = 90. 90 beats per minute is your target rate if your are wanting 50% of max.
There are fitness warm up exercises that you can use at home with just a pillow and your body.
The lunge: This is done by standing straight with your feet together. Step forward with your left leg and sinking until your thigh is parallel with the floor. Keep your weight on your heel and your knee over the ball of the foot to protect your knee. Bring your right leg up to the left leg and repeat with your right leg. You’ll essentially be ‘lunging’ across the floor. You can modify this by carrying a pillow at chest height and as you are in mid lunge with your right foot forward you can rotate left, hold for a second or two and come back to the center before raising back up. This will warm up your legs and build balance and coordination.
Be The Stork. During this move you stand with your feet together, extend your arms out to shoulder height, palms up. Raise your left knee, keeping hips level. Hold this for 10 – 15 seconds. Now with the knee still bent bend forward extending your left leg behind you and your arms out in front as if you are flying. Hold this for 10 –15 seconds and return to starting position. Switch your legs and repeat. This will build strength, coordination and balance.
Twist – lying facedown on the floor with legs straight and arms extended outwards palms down. Bend the left knee and rotate the hip and leg up and over the back until the foot touches the floor on the right side. Keep your upper body on the floor – don’t arch. Hold for 1 –2 seconds. Repeat on the other side. This will build core strength, stability and stretch.
Your fitness warm up is an important piece to your exercise routine. It will reduce the probability of injury, and improve your results.
FitDay: 8 Warm Up Exercises to do Before Your Winter Workout
7 Weeks to Fitness: Warm up, Cardio and Games
MensFitness: The Full Body Pre-Workout Warm-Up Routine
BodyBuilding: 9 Fun and Effective Ways to Warm Up
Greatist: What’s the Ideal Warm-Up?
AceFitness: Warm up to Work out
MayoClinic: Aerobic Exercise: How to Warm up and Cool Down
24 Hour Fitness: 10 Reasons to Warmup