If you’re the type to walk into the gym or grab the hedge trimmers and start working immediately without warming up, you’re putting yourself at serious risk of injury.
When you warm up before a heavy workout, you reduce your chances of muscle strain, pain, and discomfort. There are many ways to warm up before working hard, but reducing injuries and pain is key to being able to get the best benefits from this important personal activity.
Warming up before exercise kicks off a series of processes in your body that help you prepare for a workout and reduce the stress on your cardiovascular system. A proper warmup routine helps dilate blood vessels, increase heart rate, and supplies your muscles with the oxygen they need to work efficiently. When your muscles are working efficiently, you can more easily reach your peak performance, and when the temperature of your muscles increases, it allows for additional flexibility to help prevent strain on ligaments, tendons, and joints.
Many people overlook the importance of warming up and don’t realize that it is critical to injury prevention, as well as reaching the ideal range of motion, respiratory performance, and circulatory operation to help you get the most out physical activities. It really doesn’t matter if you’re going for a light jog, lifting weights, mowing the lawn or playing high-intensity sports, a warm-up is essential for injury prevention and helping you perform at your best.
If your muscles are cold and tight, and you launch right into heavy exercise, you increase the risk of pulling a hamstring, straining your lower back, or tearing a ligament. Light stretching or some gentle calisthenics before you exercise will get the blood flowing, lengthen your muscles, and reduce the likelihood of getting hurt.
Not only does warming up help you perform better and prevent injuries, but it also helps you recover better after your exercise and decreases the soreness and stiffness that can come after a heavy workout. A cool-down offers similar benefits to a warm-up. During a cool-down, you slow your body down from exercise gradually, which helps to reduce muscle tightness and can help prevent soreness later.
When you’re beginning your cool-down your muscles are still warm from exercise so ideal cool-down activities include a less intense version of your workout and stretching. Stretching muscles that are already warm will help with your flexibility and can prevent stiffness and soreness.
The amount of time you need to warm up is correlated with the intensity of the workout you’re preparing for. In general, it’s good to warm up for 10-15 minutes before putting forth your maximum efforts.
Your warm-up routine should consist of a range of exercises to help you limber up and get your heart rate up. These exercises may consist of a combination of static stretches, stretching tight or trouble areas, exercises that activate the muscles you’re about to use, and exercises that get your heart rate up like jumping jacks or jogging.
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