Warming Up Properly
In our 'Stretching' article series (http://optimumlife.co.nz/Fitness%20Articles/Stretching/Stretching1.htm), we discussed why it's important to stretch as part of your workout. We also touched on the importance of warming up before even *thinking* about stretching. Since that article, I've had a couple of questions about warming up, so it seemed like a good topic for this week's Optimum Fitness News.
When fitness experts talk about 'doing a warm up', they generally mean doing some kind of general activity that gradually raises the heart rate. They will happily tell us that doing so reduces the risk of injury during the following workout ? but don't often explain exactly how. In fact, a good warm-up should involve more than just this 'general activity'. The second, less commonly described aspect is the 'dynamic stretching' we mentioned in last week's article. And there are many more reasons to warm up than simple injury risk reduction
WHY WARM UP?
Once you're at this point, you're ready to move onto dynamic stretching. This, you'll remember, involves slowly performing the same kinds of movements you'll be making in your workout, and gradually increasing the speed. As specific muscles, tendons and joints follow the movement patterns they'll be expected to complete later, they become used to the movement, and less likely to tear when the movements are made at higher speeds. This stage also works as a cue for your nervous system to 'switch on' the specific neuro-muscular connections it will need for those movement patterns.
Lastly, this two-stage warm-up helps you to prepare you mentally for the coming workout. Regardless of what that workout might be, you'll do it better, and enjoy it more, if you're able to bring your full focus into it. By taking the time to warm up before you start exercising 'for real', you're giving yourself the mental space to switch your focus to where you need it to be.
HOW SHOULD I WARM UP?
Some people continue until they feel a light sweat, but because this can be more reflective of humidity than body temperature (and because some people sweat more easily than others), it may not be the most useful measure. Experts suggest 3-5 minutes, but if your exercise environment is particularly cold, it may need to be longer.
Once you're feeling warm, it's time to bring in the dynamic stretching. What you do here will depend totally on what kind of exercise you're planning. For a martial art, it might involve light sparring at ¼ speed, or simply performing some of the techniques in slow motion. For a sport, it could involve mimicking the same kinds of movements you'll be using on the field or court, in a slow, controlled way. There are no specific time guidelines for how long this should take ? but allow enough time for repeating each movement, starting slowly and gradually increasing the speed until you're working at the level you expect during your workout
Finally, once you're warm, stay warm. Especially if the workout that follows will be particularly vigorous, don't stop to do a static stretching routine. This will give your body a chance to cool down again, and undo much of the good you've done by warming it up in the first place. If you have any questions about either kind of warm up mentioned in this article, please don't hesitate to e-mail me on email@example.com. Otherwise, may every day bring you closer to your Optimum Life.
Copyright 2005 Tanja Gardner
Optimum Life's Tanja Gardner is a Personal Trainer and Stress Management Coach whose articles on holistic health and relaxation have appeared in various media since 1999. Optimum Life is dedicated to providing fitness and stress management services to help clients all over the world achieve their optimum lives. To find out more about how you could benefit from online personal training, please visit http://www.trainerforce.com/optimumlife/ . To find out more about holistic fitness and stress management please visit http://optimumlife.co.nz, or contact Tanja on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Discover the Best Weight Loss Exercise Ever!
The Best Weight Loss Exercise
Integrating Core Stabilization into Your Workouts
Stabilization is a hot topic in the fitness industry over the past few years. But what is stabilization? Stabilization can be defined as the body's muscular systems ability to support (stabilize) the body during movement.
How to Start a Walking Program
Did you know that walking is the number one participation sport in the world? Walking is one of the best things you can do for overall health and wellness. When you walk you use more muscles than any other sport. In fact, walking uses almost all of the 650 muscles and 203 bones found in the human body. So what are you waiting for?
Is Exercise Making You Feel Worse?
I'm sure you've heard the following statement over and over again: exercise can help you to beat stress, or alleviate anxiety or boost a depressed mind. This is only true in part. Because many exercises can actually worsen these illnesses. And even if you perform exercises that can help, these exercises will only help temporarily.
Physical Activity Versus Exercise: Is there a Difference?
Quite often a client will come into the gym discouraged with their exercise program. The common complaint being lack of results. They give a list of activities they are doing but still do not see any changes in physical appearance. Yes this can be attributed to many variables but one of the key elements to consider is intensity.
Workout Without a Gym
You may also have no access to a commercial gym, home gym or are on business trip, but there can be a solution, a strength-training workout without the need of expensive machines.
Are you in an exercise rut? Do you want to kick your fitness level up a notch and increase your endurance? Would you like to add more intensity to you workout? Interval training is a good way to achieve all of these goals in a safe and systematic manner.Interval training is simply a matter of alternating high intensity exercise and low intensity exercise. It allows one to get the benefits of the high intensity work while giving the body some rest time. It allows one to extend a workout time period and build endurance gradually.Running on a flat surface burns calories and gives your heart and lungs a great cardiovascular workout. Running up hill challenges your muscles, heart, and lungs, burning more calories and providing additional toning. But taking a 30 minute run up hill or on a steeply inclined treadmill would quickly exhaust most of us, or likely force us to stop early. However, running up hill then back down, or up hill then on flat ground would allow for high intensity work counter balanced by intervals of slower periods of active recovery. Interval training burns more calories and pumps more blood than continuous lower intensity exercise because it includes intervals of energy and oxygen-hungry work.Because interval training burns a lot of calories and provides good muscle work, it may help you save time. A pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of bricks. Likewise, running one mile burns the same number of calories as walking one mile. But walking one mile takes a lot more time. If your goal is calorie burning and toning, and you are short on time, then interval training does more, faster. Just remember that improving cardiovascular health requires aerobic exercise of 30 ? 60 minutes, so don't make all of your workouts quickies, save those for when you're in a rush. Interval training can also be helpful if your goal is to move yourself up to the next level of endurance and fitness. Maybe you have been trying to start a running program, but can't seem to maintain such a demanding exercise. Interval training is, in fact, one of the most effective ways to train the body. Marathoners commonly use this method to train for an up-coming race. A good program is to run for 4 minutes then walk at a good clip for 1 minute, or do a 3/2 interval. Your body will work hard then rest (while remaining active), work hard then rest. Your heart, lungs and muscles will make the transition to running, running farther, or running faster in a safe and productive manner. There are a lot of ways to add intervals to your workout. If you are already a runner add hills or speed segments. If aerobics classes are your genre, add explosive moves like jumps or sprints. Include segments of speed walking in your normal walking routine or take the incline of your treadmill up a little higher at timed intervals.Interval training is productive and can add excitement to your ho-hum exercise routine. Doing interval work in place of your normal routine, once a month, once a week, or once a day, is a good and effective plan. E-mail me if you need suggestions on how to intensify, endure and enjoy. You'll be glad you did.
Sets And Reps - The High And Low Weight Workout
Big weights! Wicked pump! I always get caught between two minds whenever I hit my workout at the gym. One side of me says to lift heavy to get big and the other says that form should matter more than my weight poundage. This is an issue that used to cause me to get quite twisted every time I would prep a workout training cycle. I know each technique has its merits, so I used to be swayed back and forth never staying with either method long enough to see the results. With the low weights I get to move some decent poundage's and my ego gets gratified but alas, there is no killer pump. When I stick to the perfect form method with lighter weights I get great pumps but I never feel like I am really working hard enough to get anywhere because my weights are so light. So in my search for the perfect weight workout, I decided to combine the two methods and get the best of both worlds.
Super Charge Your Metabolism
1. Cardio in Combination with Strength Training- If you need to combine your cardio with Strength training then do your Cardio AFTER your Resistance Training workout. You need that extra energy for the Hi Intensity Strength training and you also want to pump blood into your muscles after you have just broken them down from a heavy resistance training program... So Pump it up first then do your Cardio.
Arthritis Exercise ? One Way to Relieve Pain & Stiffness in Your Joints (part 2)
Even when you cannot make it out to walk or to an aquatics or yoga class, there are exercises you can do daily to improve flexibility, strength and conditioning when you suffer from arthritis. You can flex your legs while sitting in a chair facing forward, simply by moving your leg outward while keeping your foot on the floor and holding it there for a few seconds, then retracting it until your foot is behind you, then alternating to the other leg. Interlocking your fingers and slowly flexing your wrists to the left and the right for a few minutes a day can help tremendously to increase flexibility and reduce pain in the wrist area.
Precision Abdominal Training
It's almost impossible to turn on the television or open a magazine without being barraged by advertisements for washboard abs, the best abdominal training machine ever designed or a 'magic' pill specifically designed to remove fat from problem areas. In my previous articles I alluded to the fact that most machines do not work, in fact they actually can increase the risk of injury. Many of the most common machines and devices that are designed to 'scientifically' target the abs actually place up to 1000 lbs. of compressive forces on the spine.
Stretching and the Warm up ? Are You Confused?
Lately, I've been receiving a lot of questions referring to the latest studies and research findings, and one question that I receive most queries about concerns the role that stretching plays as part of the warm up.
Strategies for Alleviating the Boredom Associated with Exercise
Just about every expert in the ADD field will tell you that exercise is one of the best ADD management strategies there is. According to the book Delivered from Distraction:
The Science of Carbohydrate Loading
A valid connection between hypoglycemia, fatigue and premature termination of exercise been firmly established and therefore carbohydrate loading is a proven form of boosting running endurance in prolonged events lasting more than two hours in duration. While there are various methods of carbo-loading, the process basically involves consuming large quantities of carbohydrate-rich food in order to saturate the body's carbohydrate stores. It is proposed that with these increased energy stores, the competitor will be able to avoid exercise-induced hypoglycemia and continue exercising longer than if this saturation process had not occurred. This article aims to further explain how to perform carbohydrate loading and the reasoning behind its practice.
Bodybuilding Training Tips ? To be a Champion!
Twenty two years ago I fell into the world of bodybuilding by accident. I had absolutely no discipline, determination or confidence in myself. After many championships, television shows, movie star clients and successful businesses here are a few training tips that I have learned along the way.
Metabolism: How to Increase Your Metabolic Rate?
Metabolism is a process by which the body burns the calories and convert them into useful energy. High metabolic rate uses up the energy stored in the form of fat. Metabolism to some extent depends on:
How to Supercharge Your Energy Levels through Exercise
Your energy levels will depend on several factors, including genetics, nutrition, sleep habits, and emotional stress. Some of these you have no control over But there is one VERY important factor that you do have control over and that is your ability to take part in physical exercise.
Salsa Dancing for Fitness is Hot
Salsa dancing is emerging as a refreshing replacement for conventional aerobic exercises. Classes based on the fiery music and movements of Salsa, Mambo, Cumbia, Merengue and more are starting to get people interested in Salsa dancing, while at the same time giving them a pounding workout.
3 Exercises for Good Posture and a Six-Pack
These days many people spend a significant part of their day slaving away over a hot computer and as a result, their posture is not what it should be. Bad posture can result in short-term discomfort such as neck stiffness and headaches and also lead to more serious problems in later life. It is therefore worth spending some time to counteract the damage we may be doing to ourselves every day. But how about this - did you know that some of the same exercises that you can do to maintain good posture are the very same exercises, which if done regularly, can help you to achieve a six-pack? I am totally serious ? this is something I discovered recently while looking at different exercise routines because I wanted to do something about my own bad posture. As well as sitting and standing up straight, you will also look good on the beach next summer. Kill two birds with one stone!
Exercise and Heart Health: A Life Giving Marriage
Most people get their health out of a bottle these days, be it a bottle of vitamins or pharmaceuticals. However, with a little effort and dedication you really can get a hold on your life, turn it round and live it to the full!
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