How to prepare for exercise: Not your grade school gym teacher’s warm-up.

June 14, 2017

(Note: Before undergoing any exercise program, check with your primary care physician to determine whether or not you can.)

Remember in grade school gym class when to “warm-up” for physical activity, the teacher would have the class jogging a few laps, touching their toes and maybe a set of sit-ups thrown in for good measure? Sure, these types of activities certainly could count as movement, but exercise science has advanced the art of warming up to a new level for modern times.

Getting your body ready for a workout consists of prepping your muscles, joints and connective tissue; getting your heart pumping; and dynamic (not static) stretching. In other words, definitely don’t touch your toes and hold that position. Static stretching (like the aforementioned toe touching and hold) can actually harm your performance and increase your risk for injury. Instead, do each of these following moves for 20-30 seconds.

  1. Start by jumping rope: This old fashioned exercise starts your engine nicely. If you don’t have a jump rope, do jumping jacks.
  2. Walking knee hugs: As you take a step forward, bring your knee towards your chest and use your arms to pull your knee closer. Stand tall and keep your shoulders back.
  3. Butt kicks: Jog forward and exaggeratedly kick your heels towards your behind.
  4. High knees: Jog forward and bring your knees high up towards your chest in a natural movement.
  5. Hip raise: Lie on your back with knees bent with your core engaged. Raise your hips keeping your spine aligned with your thighs at the top of the movement. Pause at the top and bring your hips back down to the floor in a controlled manner.
  6. Body weight squats: Lace your hands behind your head and start the motion like you are sitting back on a chair. Keeping your back straight, lower you body into a squat in a controlled motion. Stand and repeat.
  7. Lunges: Take a step forward with your forward and trailing leg both bent at 90 degrees. Stand straight and repeat with the opposite leg leading.

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