Pulling a Muscle Stinks!
That’s why warming up might be the single most important part of your workout. Muscles are made of living tissue. They’re essentially biological machines that require a steady stream of balanced oxygen, hormones and nutrients to perform optimally. Work the muscle too hard without proper care and injury ensues. Here we look at four pro warm-up tips you might not be doing.
Eat and Drink
Proper Nutrition and hydration are the first steps to having the best workout you can get. Research shows study participants who ate an hour before exercise, on average, had better performance. Which makes sense, your body is living tissue that requires a set of balanced nutrition delivered to it to function properly. If you choose not to eat before you exercise, your tired muscles still need the boost. Eating after a workout will still have some benefit and deliver those much-needed nutrients.
Use Muscle Soothing Lotion
Overworked and strained muscles can be a major bummer. To ease them and help avoid them in the first place the market has a wide variety of rubs and creams that can help. An anti-inflammatory lotion helps loosen muscles by reducing inflammation. Relaxed muscles feel better and are a lot harder to pull. It’s important to remember most ointments should not be applied to an open wound or damaged skin. Using them with a heating pad can also have adverse effects. And remember, with some ingredients used in creams and you should always avoid touching your eyes or any other sensitive area directly after application.
Before you start exercising, it’s important to gently warm up your body before you begin working your muscles too hard, walking is a great way to do that. Walking begins blood flow and wakes up your muscles by increasing the reach of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Mark Fenton developed a technique involving ankle circles, leg swings, pelvic hoops, and arm circles to activate your entire body that prepares your body for the big stuff. Experts suggest five to ten minutes of this before beginning your work out- longer if you have sore or achy muscles from a previous session.
Stretching is an important part of physical fitness with great benefits, such as improved flexibility and motor skill but are we doing it at the right time? Stretching used to be the first step to many popular workout routines - but now we know better. Stretching is important but to avoid the overworking of a muscle, it should not come first. Glenn Harris from Boston University Athletics also suggests people use what’s called a ‘dynamic’ stretching technique where you focus on bringing your body through its range of motions using gentle motions instead of using the ‘static stretching’ technique which is the 'reach your toes and hold' you probably learned in gym class.
Warming up just might be the most important part of your exercise. Find a routine you enjoy and don’t skip it. Listen to your body cues and don’t push it harder than it's ready to go. After all, a good warm-up shouldn’t tire you, it’s only the preparation for the real butt-kicking to come.