Wellness Weekend 2020 is a wellness blog link-up series with a monthly theme hosted by Natalie from Natalie the Explorer and Leslie, from Once Upon A Time, Happily Ever After. On the 3rd Sunday of every month in 2020, I will be linking up with these lovely ladies to share a wellness-related story or experience. Don’t forget to check the link up below so you can read their thoughts as well.
The first topic for Wellness Weekend 2020 is Warm-Up.
Why the Warm-Up phase of your workout is so important.
Walking, yoga, swimming, jogging, dancing – all of these activities can cause injury if our bodies and muscles aren’t warmed up properly. Yes, even a simple walk needs some form of warm-up.Since I started officially studying for my Fitness certificate I have been reminded the importance warming up before any form of exercise. I’ve also learned the difference between the various forms of Stretching – static and dynamic being the most common.
The Warm Up phase allows:
- our muscles to start moving and warm up to avoid injury
- increases our blood flow to working muscles
- increases our heart rate gradually to avoid cardiovascular stress
- improves blood pressure
- improves Oxygen and Nutrient Uptake
- improves flexibility
Writing training programs for my course has also reminded me of the importance of both a Warm Up and Cool Down as vital parts of a workout. If I’m at the gym for a workout, I usually start with 5 minutes on the rowing machine which is a good full body warm up and then follow with some dynamic stretches. Other ways are to start an exercise slowly before picking up the pace of in the case of strength training, increasing the weight.
These should be done before your workout and should consist of movements of the muscles for full range of motion. Unlike static stretches which we hold, dynamic stretches are controlled movement to ‘warm up’ the muscles that we will be using during the workout. Examples of dynamic stretches are: lunges, squats, arm circles. They can also be a good workout if you running short on time.
Don’t forget to the Post Workout Stretch
These are stretches that are held for 30 – 60 seconds after your workout to help muscle recovery and flexibility. A quick 5 minute stretch is not enough. A complete exercise program should include at least 15 – 20 minutes of stretching after exercise, with the addition of a one hour yoga or pilates session each week.
Stretching not only provides flexibility but it also increases our core strength. It reduces the risk of injury and also reduces lower back pain. I have suffered from lower back pain for years but recently did a 30 day challenge of Stretching every day. My back is no longer painful and I feel great – I even managed to touch my toes two weeks into the challenge!
Harvard medical school Healthbeat suggests:
‘Weak back and abdominal muscles can cause or worsen low back pain. That’s why stretching and strengthening your back and abdominal muscles are important not only for treating low back pain, but also for helping to prevent a recurrence of the problem.’
The importance of stretching as we age
It is a pity that some of us don’t recognise the importance of stretching but it is NEVER TOO LATE TO START!
As we age it is even more important to include stretching into our regular exercise and daily life. Our joints can become less flexible as we age which will affect our mobility and our balance.
When you Should Stretch?
Stretching is usually done when the muscles are warm after exercise. Take it gently and STOP if you feel any pain.
Benefits of stretching
Stretching is not just good for your body but as we have seen with exercise it is great for our mental health.
- Increased Flexibility
- Improved Posture
- Reduces Lower Back Pain
- Helps prevent loss of mobility as we age
- Reduces the risk of Injury
- Reduces stress on muscles used in exercise –
- Brings sense of calm
- Brings clarity and focus through controlled breathing
- Decreases stress and tension
- Increases energy
Even if you are just going for a walk you need to warm up your body to avoid injury.