Warm-ups are an essential start to your workout routine. When you begin your exercise, your body goes through a series of changes. Your heart rate increases, oxygen flow throughout your body and blood flow to your muscles increase. To reach a stage where your heart rate is high from a state of complete rest requires a good warm-up. Warming up helps you ease into a workout and preps your body to endure the stress of an exercise. This also decreases the risk of injuries or muscle pulls during the workout.
Warm-ups must include stretching almost every muscle and every joint in your body. So it’s essential to take time out before a workout and stretch those muscles!
Here are a few pre-workout warm-up exercises for you to do:
Skipping is a full-body cardio workout that can also be part of a warm-up routine as it stretches your wrists, hips and knees. Although some believe that the same results can be achieved without using a rope, that isn’t the case. Use a skipping-rope that is long enough for you and reduces the chances of tripping.
Jumping jacks or star jumps is an excellent exercise to help increase your heart rate gradually. It also stretches out the muscles in your arms and builds strength in your legs.
- Start by standing straight with your arms beside you.
- Jump with your feet wide apart from their original position and at the same time stretch your arms wide, almost pointing to the ceiling. (Your body position should resemble a star at this point)
- Jump back to your original position and repeat.
Bicycle crunches or Ab Bikes are a great way to target the abdominal muscles and the obliques in one easy exercise.
- Start by lying on your back on a yoga mat. Bend your elbows and cradle your head with your hands behind it.
- Gently lift your two legs together, your upper body and your head.
- Rotate your torso to the left to bring your right elbow to your knee. Untwist your torso and repeat the same on the other side. Continue alternating between left and right, inhaling and exhaling as you go.
This exercise engages your core, strengthens all the muscles in your legs, gets your heart rate up and improves momentum, coordination and flexibility.
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Start slow and put your weight on your left light, bending your right knee as you go so as to touch your chest. Repeat the exercise on the other side by putting your weigh on your right leg and lifting your left leg to your chest.
- Once you get the hang of it, switch legs fast enough so it looks like you’re jumping.
Apart from increasing your heart rate, this exercise stretches out your legs and eases the movement of leg exercises that you would do next.
- Start by placing your palms flat on a yoga mat and your body stretched all the way straight to your toes. Make sure your palms and toes are the only part of your body that is touching the mat.
- Bend your left knee and bring the knee close to your chest. Push the knee back and return to the starting position
- Repeat the same with the right leg, slowly increasing the pace of the workout.
Do a combination of these exercises for an effective warm-up routine.