Chamber Insider Blog

Health & Wellness: How Important is a Warm-Up at the Gym?

Posted by Sheetal Shah, 9Round Kickboxing, and member of the Health & Wellness Committee

 
Gym Routine – How Important is a Warm-Up?

When you step into the gym, how do you start your workout routine – do you jump right into it, or do you take the time to warm up?   Most of us are guilty and skip a warm up because let’s face it – it may seem boring.  Or, it simply takes time out of our workouts. 

Because we’re constantly running in a million directions, we typically find that we only have 30 minutes to squeeze in a good workout.   So, even a brief warm up sounds like a hassle.   But, the truth is, warming up before your workout can help your performance tremendously!

A good warm up will gradually increase your heart rate, the circulation to your muscles, and your endurance while mentally preparing you for your workout.  If you allow your body to warm up for 5 – 10 minutes prior to starting your fitness routine (i.e. jogging in place), your lessen your chances of injuring yourself because your muscles warm up and your ligaments become more flexible. 

So, what’s the best way to warm up?  Next time, try one of these quick exercises to get your heart rate going! 

1.  Jump Around.  If you’re packing in a quick workout, a few minutes of jumping rope will quickly increase your heart rate and body temperature. 

2.  Use the Medicine Ball.  Most gyms are equipped with medicine balls.  Try using them in your warm up routine…

3.  Russian Twists.  Lie down on the floor with your feet flat on the ground and legs bent at the knees.  Elevate your upper body and fully extend your arms in front of you holding a medicine ball with both hands.  Twist your torso to the right side until your arms are parallel to the floor.  Hold the contraction for a second and move back to starting position.  Apply the same technique moving to the opposite side, and repeat. 

4.  Figure 8’s.  Pick up the medicine ball with both of your hands and hold it out to one side of your head.  You need to stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and slowly move the ball in a constant motion, forming the number 8. Complete 10 repetitions, then repeat the exercise in the opposite direction. 

5.  Squats and Lunges.  You can never go wrong with either one of these exercises!  We perform similar movement patterns every day, from lifting a heavy box off the floor or climbing up the stairs.  These exercises can help increase your body temperature, improve joint range of motion, and reduce your risk of injury. 

6.  Swinging Movements.  Performing exercises that involve swinging can help loosen your muscles and joints.  It can help your body prepare for any heavy resistance training.  Here are some great exercises that I like to use for my warm ups…

7.  Front to Back Leg Swings.  Stand next to a chair or other support, holding on with one hand. Swing your leg forward while keeping your leg straight.  Continue with a downward swing while bringing your leg as far back as your flexibility allows.  Try doing about 10 repetitions before switching to your other leg. 

8.  Arm Circles.  While standing, bring your arms straight out to your sides.  Slowly start to make circles about 1 foot in diameter with each arm while keeping them straight.  Continue for about 10-15 seconds then repeat going in the opposite direction.

 

-Posted by Sheetal Shah, 9Round Kickboxing

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