An effective warm up gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing, in preparation for a workout session. However, improper warm ups can lead to painful, jarred muscles. What is the best way to warm up without causing injury?
Get Your Heart Rate Up
Start off by spending a few minutes getting your heart rate up. Get your heart rate up by jogging on the spot, running up and down the stairs, using a skipping rope or doing jumping jacks until you feel out of breath, but not so worn out you cannot catch your breath or you have pains in your side. This will help get your heart rate up quickly and prepare your body for the intensity of working out.
Once you have increased your heart rate, you will feel warmer and more energised. Stretch all major muscle groups that you will be using in your arms, legs, torso and back so that you do not jar your muscles during your workout. But do not stretch beyond your pain threshold. Stretching prepares the body from injury.
However, if you stretch too far, you will end up with a different kind of injury, as you nurse torn ligaments and tendons instead. Beginners should not stretch their body too far, but work up to deeper stretches, which will come with time. As your body gets used to the workouts, you will also become supple, making it easier to stretch further.
Spend Adequate Time Warming Up
A common reason for jarred muscles following a workout is inadequate time spent warming up prior to the workout. Make sure you spend at least 5 minutes warming up correctly, rather than rushing through the warm up in order to start the workout session. If you do not spend enough time warming up, you could end up very sore and in a lot of pain the next day.
Warming up should not be rushed. Start by getting the heart rate up and carefully stretching the major muscle groups that you will be using during the workout. Finally, spend adequate time warming up so that you can best prepare your body for the workout without sustaining injury.