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Why Warm-Ups? How To Activate Your Mind & Body

Let’s avoid being lazy here. I know that we all really want to dive right into the activity or workout, but doing so increases injury risk!

Be Kind To Your Body

Never skip the warm-up! Especially for sports, we all want to get in to the game right away, so we tend to neglect warm-ups.

Nevertheless, a proper warm-up gradually increases your heart rate and blood flow, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. Think of it as waking up your muscles gently.

So, this improves flexibility and range of motion, making them more efficient and less prone to strains or tears. Warming up also primes your nervous system, allowing for sharper focus and better coordination during your workout.

Additionally, it can elevate your core temperature, preparing you to sweat effectively and regulate body temperature during exercise. So, take those few extra minutes to warm up – your body really will thank you for it!

For The Arms & Upper Body

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Ignite those upper body muscles with a dynamic warm-up before your next workout! This is what my routine looks like whether I’m going for a heavy lift or just playing pickleball.

i) Start with gentle arm circlesforward and backward, for 10-15 repetitions each way. This loosens your shoulder joints and improves blood flow.

ii) Next, incorporate arm swings. Raise your arms overhead and swing them back and forth in a wide arc, gradually increasing the intensity. This mobilizes your shoulders and upper back muscles.

iii) Don’t forget your elbows! Perform arm circles with elbows bent at 90 degrees, focusing on a smooth and controlled motion.

iv) Now, engage your core with planks. So, I don’t get too tired, I hold one high plank for 30 seconds, then transition to a low plank for another 30 seconds. This strengthens my core and shoulders, promoting proper posture.

v) Finally, incorporate some dynamic stretches. Reach for your toes with one hand at a time while keeping your back flat, stretching your lats and improving upper back flexibility. Remember, a proper warm-up should take 5-10 minutes and leave you feeling loose and energized, not exhausted.

For The Lower Back & Hips

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Always include a targeted warm-up for your lower back and hips! Because these muscles are the source for stability and power during exercise, properly preparing them will enhance your performance and reduce injury risk.

i) First, focus on gentle movements to increase blood flow. Marches in place, light jogs, or jumping jacks for a few minutes are a great starting point.

ii) Next, incorporate dynamic stretches that mimic the movements you’ll be performing during your workout. For your lower back, try side lunges with torso twists, reaching for the ground with a flat back while keeping your knees slightly bent.

For your hips, perform leg swings forward and backward, circling motions with your hips, and gentle hip flexor stretches while kneeling. If you’d like, you can use light kettlebells to really get them activated.

iii) Finally, don’t forget core activation exercises like planks or bird-dogs to engage your core muscles and improve stability throughout your workout.

For The Legs

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Don’t neglect your legs before your workout as doing so primes your leg muscles for optimal performance and reduces injury risk.

i) Begin with light cardio, like jogging or jumping jacks, for no more than 5 minutes to gently elevate your heart rate and blood flow.

ii) Next, incorporate dynamic stretches that mimic the movements you’ll perform during your workout.

  • Leg swings forward and backward activate your quads and hamstrings, while lateral lunges with arm circles engage your inner and outer thighs.
  • Don’t forget butt kicks to loosen your glutes and hamstrings.

iii) Finally, include some static stretches like holding a hamstring stretch for 30 seconds on each leg. Always focus on your technique and form. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds and breathe deeply throughout your routine.

Never Forget The Neck!

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We all know to stretch our legs and arms before a workout, but the neck is almost always neglected. This is a big mistake.

Your neck houses a complex network of muscles that stabilize your head and allow for a wide range of motion. Just like any other muscle group, these need to be warmed up properly to avoid injury.

Skipping a neck warm-up leaves these muscles cold and stiff, making them more susceptible to strains, tears, and even headaches. The good news is, a simple neck warm-up routine is not strenuous.

i) Firstly, start with gentle rotations, slowly rolling your head in a circular motion in both directions.

ii) Perform side bends, bringing your ear towards your shoulder on each side and holding for a few seconds.

iii) To end, add some neck rolls with a slight forward and backward tilt.

Questions, Comments, Concerns?

How consistent are you with your workout routines?

Do you do all the time, half the time, or never at all?

Regardless, I hope that my advice shows you how important it is to warm-up every single time to avoid injury.

If you have any questions or comments, let’s chat below!