Why You Should Warm Up & Stretch Before Exercising
Hopefully, you are fully aware of the numerous benefits that can occur if you remain physically active on a consistent basis. If you are already maintaining a regular exercise routine of some type, then you are to be commended. However, if you are not currently adhering to an exercise regimen – which can consist of something as basic as a daily walk – then you are not alone. According to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), the vast majority of Americans do not exercise to the degree that is recommended through national physical activity guidelines.
Regular Exercise Is Vital
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has advised all American adults to be engaged in 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise each week or to involve themselves in 75-150 minutes of vigorous exercise during that same weekly span. It has also been recommended that individuals in the U.S. dedicate themselves to muscle-strengthening activities at least two days each week, and the HHS guidelines also state that children and teenagers should be involved with at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on a daily basis.
But a national health interview report from the CDC’s national center for health statistics not only revealed that just 23% of all adults age 18 to 64 are accomplishing both recommendations of exercise and muscle strengthening, and 44.7% of individuals in the U.S. fail to accomplish either goal.
If you are meeting or exceeding the goals that have been established in order to attain a desirable level of physical activity – which has been discussed in several recent articles – then you are already diminishing the risk of experiencing any of the serious health issues that can occur from excessive inactivity. You will also enhance your health by bolstering the fitness of your heart, and lungs, improving your chances of sustaining a healthy weight, reducing joint issues, fortifying your bones, improving your coordination, and elevating your mental outlook.
Proper Warm-ups And Stretching Maximizes The Effects Of Exercise
While the benefits of exercise are both enormous and unquestioned, you can experience the full effects of your healthy activity by making sure that warm-ups and stretching become part of your regimen before and after you exercise. Not only does this improve your flexibility and mobility, but it also decreases the risk that you will encounter a health issue.
You will reduce the risk of suffering an injury while you are exercising if you make it a priority to always warm-up before your specific physical activity begins. This will initiate stimulate your blood flow well also expanding your breathing and elevating your muscle temperature. Warming up will also increase the effectiveness of your workouts.
But the warmups and stretching that you undertake should be done safely and must include the correct technique. Any type of improper movement will actually provide the potential of causing you problems rather than bolstering your efforts toward remaining healthy. It is also critical that you begin by warming up before you make any attempt to stretch your cold muscles and considering that to be your warm-up. Otherwise, you are also at risk of an injury.
Instead, you should initiate the warm-up process with a light walk, or jog, or by cycling slowly. Then you can then steadily increase your pace. After you have completed this portion of your warm-up routine as a bridge to your stretching regimen, you can then make sure to involve your primary muscles with the stretching process itself. These include your neck, shoulders, back, thighs, calves, and hips.
Stretching After Exercise
Stretching following your exercise routine is highly advantageous. First, you will have attained a new level of flexibility following your physical activity due to the improved circulation of your muscles and joints. This is the result of the movement that you have undertaken during your activity.
The CDC has also provided guidelines to assist anyone who exercises with the proper manner in which to warm up. These include making sure to maintain slow, relaxing movements, and to hold your stretches for 10-30 seconds. This sequence can be repeated up to three times.
You should avoid holding your breath and should instead focus on sustaining a slow, smooth breathing process. It is also critical that you abstain from bouncing as this could result in a torn muscle. Quick movements should also be avoided because they can also make you more susceptible to a health issue.
You should never stretch if you are experiencing pain and you should abstain from any further stretching if there is any discomfort after you begin the process.
The CDC has also supplied specific recommendations concerning basic stretching exercises. These include:
Overhead Shoulder Stretch: this involves raising your arms overhead while your keeping elbows straight, and locking your fingers – all while maintaining a straight neck and back
Mid-Back Stretch – your arms are reaching out directly to the front, while you lock your fingers
Chest Stretch – you are reaching your arms directly behind you while locking your fingers
Chest Stretch – this also involves reaching your arms directly behind you while locking your fingers and raising the elbows
Side Bends – this is accomplished by raising one arm above your head while tilting the body to the other side, then switching sides
Hamstrings – extend one leg while sitting in a chair and keep the other heel firmly on the ground. Then, extend yourself forward on your toes while keeping your knees straight
Calf stretch – while holding onto a surface or chair, place your ankle behind your body while the knee remains straight and both feet are firmly on the floor
Trunk – as you remain sitting in a chair, slowly revolve your shoulders to one side, then switch the rotation to the other side
At Orthopedic Associates, We Are Here To Help
At Orthopedic Associates, we want you to enjoy your daily activities. That includes sustaining good health before, during, and after involvement with any type of exercise or physical activity that you prefer. If you encounter discomfort, illness, injury, or have a concern about anything that might keep you from being involved in an activity, we are here to assist you. Our ultimate objective is always for you to experience pain-free participation in the activities and lifestyle that you enjoy.
That is why Orthopedic Associates offers a full spectrum of musculoskeletal care, along with in-house physical sports therapy, and state-of-the-art-technology including our digital imaging and open MRI, and an on-site surgical center for more patient convenience.
Our board-certified doctors have been practicing medicine for a combined total of 183 years. This includes expertise in sports medicine, through which our physicians provide personalized care for a broad range of sports-related injuries – big or small.
In addition to the services that we provide that are related to Sports Medicine and In-House Imaging, our physicians are always available to utilize their knowledge to help you should you require joint replacement, or arthroscopic surgery, while our specialists are also here to assist with physical therapy, rehabilitation, and orthopedic trauma.