Gym Warm Up Activities

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A warm-up is an essential part of any workout. Gradually introducing your body to more vigorous activity allows it to respond appropriately. The warm-up will get your muscles moving, increasing blood flow and warming the body, just as the name implies. This will help your body to get ready for more motion and allow you to avoid any rapid spikes in heart rate or blood pressure.

  1. Stick to the Same Activity

    • While any type of warm-up is better than none, it is ideal to warm-up with an activity that is similar to what you plan to do for the rest of your cardio session. For example, if you walk, simply start out at a slow and comfortable pace. If you run, you can walk or start with a very light jog. An indoor cycling class should start with some easy cycling with little to no resistance. To prepare for a weight-training session, hop on a recumbent bike and ride at a slow to moderate pace. Most group exercise classes will begin with a light march and move into more full-body movements, slowly warming the muscles.

    Time Frame

    • It is best to warm up for about five minutes before picking up the pace or intensity of your exercise. If you are new to exercise, you may want to consider warming up for 10 minutes to allow your body to adjust to the movement and slowly elevate your breathing and heart rate.

    When to Stretch

    • Stretching can be a part of a warm-up at the gym; however, you should stretch after your warm-up exercise is complete. Walk, jog or bike for your five minutes before you stop to stretch your muscles. Stretching warm muscles will decrease the risk of pulling a muscle or injuring yourself in a similar way. You can also save your stretching for after your cardiovascular session, or stretch both before and after.

      Regardless of when you do it, there are a few criteria to follow. First, be sure to stretch all major muscle groups. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and avoid bouncing. Your goal should be to lean into the stretch and hold. Once you have held it for 15 seconds or so, release and try stretching again, reach further. The stretch should be slightly uncomfortable to increase flexibility but should not be painful.

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