Warming up should be a non-negotiable every time you engage in any sort of intense physical activity. If you are someone who views warm-ups as optional, then there is some good news for you: you’ll probably get lots of rest while you’re out with injuries!
Risk mitigation isn’t the only reason to take the time to ease your muscles into a workout, either. When you give your body the introduction to activity that it needs, you are actively optimising your performance, setting yourself up for better results. So what are you waiting for? Get moving with these three simple warm-up ideas!
Traditional cardio machines can be a convenient way to get your muscles firing before you hit them hard with a workout. You can just do a gentle warm-up, or gradually increase the intensity until you’re close to the level you want to be at. Cardio machines like treadmills are perfect for people who are just starting out on their fitness journey.
If you don’t already have one, you can pick up a quality treadmill, bike, rower or cross-trainer from specialty retailers like Fitness Market
Dynamic stretches are all about actively stretching your muscles with sharp but careful movements. There are a heap of benefits to stretching in this way – improved range of motion, activated muscles, improved bodily awareness and enhanced muscular power are just a few. Lunges, squats, high kicks and knees to chest are all fairly typical moves in a dynamic warm-up, and you can scale these according to your fitness level (for example, you could make the lunges and squats jumping versions).
Warming up with sport-specific movements has similar benefits to dynamic stretches, except they are much more targeted to the activity you will be doing. They also have the added bonus of warming up your mind, getting your coordination on point and getting you in the spirit of the activity. Some examples of sport-specific warm-up movements could be shuttle runs, jumps or skipping, as well as skills and drills relevant to the sport. This might be something like a passing drill for football players or a dribbling course for players before a soccer game. Not only do these warm up the muscles, but they also switch on the mind and prepare you for the real demands of the sport.
While these are all great physical warm-ups, it is equally important to warm-up mentally, regardless of how competitive or casual your activity will be. Visualisation can help you perform better by cultivating a heightened sense of well-being and confidence, as well as increasing your competitive edge and honing your awareness. If you’re not trying to ‘win’ anything in particular, you can still use this to your advantage by using it to mentally practise technique – if you can get it right in your head, you may find it easier to recreate physically.
Warm-ups are key to performance and wellness, so don’t skimp on your pre-workout routine and enjoy the many benefits you may begin to notice! What’s your favourite warm-up?
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