Weary Cincinnatians sick of the winter weather might not need to be convinced of the need to “warm up.” Sometimes, though, it can be hard to find the motivation to warm-up before going for a run, playing a sport, or starting an exercise program.
We know it adds time to your session, but those are minutes well spent. A brief warm-up will prepare your body and heart for activity by raising your body temperature and improving your blood flow, getting your cardiovascular system ready to deliver the increased oxygen and energy your body will need. It may even help you minimize the risk of injury or prevent muscle soreness.
Generally speaking, your warm-up should involve the same kinds of activities and work the same kinds of muscle groups that you plan on using, just at a slower pace—for example, walking briskly for a few minutes before starting your run. The goal is to work just hard enough to get your heart pumping and maybe produce a few drops of sweat, but not so hard that you’re already fatigued before even beginning your workout. Also, stretch after your warm-up, not before.
If you’re bored of the same old routine or you want to incorporate some different activities into your warm-up, go for moves that build skills like coordination, balance, and core strength—things that are important in sports but may get overlooked in individual, independent exercising routines. Some favorites:
- Push up on to the ball of one foot, bringing the knee of the other leg up as high as you can. (Use your arms for balance). Alternate feet for 30 seconds.
- Rotating lunges. Take a normal lunge, then you rotate your torso with your arms forward (you may find it helpful to hold a pillow with both hands) and hold for 2 seconds.
- Stand with your feet together and arms out to the sides, then raise one knee and hold for 10 seconds. Then, bend forward, arms out in front, leg behind until your entire body (save the leg you’re standing on) is parallel to the floor. Hold for 10 more seconds.
We want to help you stay healthy and active for a lifetime. If you notice any problems with your feet or ankles, call Family Foot and Ankle Center at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 and set up an appointment at one of our six Greater Cincinnati offices today.