With the increased consciousness about health and fitness, exercise patterns such as warm ups are coming into the limelight, which was the territory of athletes and sports person exclusively. Warm up exercises consist of low-intensity workouts that are performed before starting any strenuous physical activity in order to prepare the body and the mind. It activates the muscles and increases heart rate in order to increase strength and minimize injuries. All kinds of exercises right from exercises for weight loss to weight training workout should be preceded by warm up exercises. While body building exercises involve strenuous weight training, deep breathing for weight loss is very effective for burning calories.
Warm up exercises form the basis of any exercise program that increases body temperature and heartbeat to prepare the body for the upcoming vigorous physical activities such as cycling, hiking, strength training exercise, etc.
Pumping up blood Circulation – Low intensity warm up exercises help in improving blood flow through muscles, ligaments and tendons and boosts up the heart rate. It improves flexibility and reduces chances of muscle injury.
Mental Preparation – Warmup sets prepare the mind and the body for the upcoming strenuous physical activities so that the body can endure the stress and exhaustion of the workout session.
Enhancing Performance – Elevated body temperature during warm up exercises help in enhancing athletic performance and efficiency and reduces the risk of injuries, muscle pulls and tears.
Promote Sweating – Warmup exercises promote sweating that is important for releasing heat produced by the body during vigorous physical activities. It helps in cooling the body effectively.
Warm ups are as important as the exercise itself. Here we have provided a list of warm up exercises that will help in increasing flexibility, enhancing the effectiveness of any workout session.
Workout plans for men and women should include warm up exercises, and squat thrust is an effective calisthenics exercise that not only fires up the muscles, but also helps in toning the lower body. In addition, it also helps in working the core muscles, abdomen and chest. Squat thrusts are also known as burpees, and although it is difficult to do, and exercisers love to hate it, this workout exercise is gaining popularity among fitness enthusiasts because of its effectiveness. Stand straight and then come to a squat position by bending your knees, now lower your body further to take up a pushup position. Perform a push up, and jump to bring your feet under you, stand up by jumping as high as you can. Repeat the whole motion 6 to 10 times.
Push up is a basic body-weight exercise that must be included in the warmup sets in order to increase the output of the workout session. It is one of the best exercises to lose arm fat and helps in toning the upper body – chest and shoulders. In addition, it helps in improving core strength and bone mass, and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis in the future. Lie face down on the exercise mat in the plank position with your hands holding up your torso, keep your feet closed and lower your body while inhaling and keeping your back flat, andneck neutral, keep your core engaged at all times and exhale while pushing up, repeat it 10 to 15 times.
The Glute Bridge is one of the most effective workout exercises for toning your back and inner thighs. It targets the hamstrings, calves, hip flexors and lower back muscles. Lie down flat on an exercise mat and bend your legs at 45 degrees angle with your hands at your side. Now, thrust your hips up while keeping your core tight, contracting your glutes and hamstrings. Your back should be off the ground and form a bridge from your knees to shoulders. Hold the posture for 2 seconds, lower your body and push it up again. Repeat it 20 to 30 times at a stretch.
This is an effective exercise for stretching the ankles because it plays an important role in most workouts. The rocking ankle mobilization is one of the best fitness exercises that stretches the arm, back and leg muscles and also helps in relieving knee and lower back pain. Start with the push up position, now place your right foot over your left calf and rock your body back and forth. Feel the stretch and tension form in your ankles. Come back to the starting position and do the same on the other side. Repeat it 20 times on each side.
This particular warm up exercise helps in stretching and toning the shoulders and upper back. It also helps in strengthening the core muscles and increase flexibility. Get down on all fours keeping your back flat. Keep your arms straight and palms resting flat on the floor. Now put your right hand on the back of your head, rotate your head and torso to the left inward so that your right elbow points in and then rotate it towards right so that the right elbow points outward toward the ceiling while turning your head and upper back as far right as you can. This entire movement makes 1 repetition. Repeat it 15 to 20 times.
The knee lift lunge is a variation of the classic lunge that helps in stretching the glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings and chest. It also improves balance, form and tightens the core. Stand straight with your legs hip-width apart. Now, raise your right knee and grab the kneecap with both hands, pulling it towards your chest. Release it and take a step forward with the right leg and lower your body to a lunge position, hold the posture for 2 seconds and return to the starting position. Now, repeat it by rising up your left leg. This makes 1 repetition. Repeat it 8 to 10 times at a stretch.
We often experience annoying groin pull and pain. The inner thigh mobilization exercise helps in stretching the groin and inner thigh muscles. Get on all fours and come to a kneeling position. Extend your right leg to the side so that it becomes perpendicular to your torso and rest it on the floor with your toes pointing straight. Now, push your hips back as much as you can and then push your hips forward as much as you can. Return to the starting position. Repeat it 10 to 20 times on one side and then do the same by extending the left leg.
Adding movement to the warm up session is very important to prepare the body for dynamic, high-intensity workouts – be it weight training workout or body toning exercises. High knee skips help in extending and stretching the ankles, knees and hips. It is an amazing cardiovascular exercise that helps in losing belly fat. Stand straight and start the skips by raising your knees up and maintaining a 90-degree angle and propel yourself forward while moving your arms opposite your legs as you skip forward. Do it for 1 to 2 minutes at a stretch.
Speed up your heartbeat and maximize the effectiveness of your workout sessions by performing these warm up sets before resuming your exercise.
Image Sources: health.com, futurefit.co.uk, fitbie.com, womenshealthmag.com.
Devi Gajendran is a Post Graduate in Nutrition (University of Madras, Tamil Nadu) and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She is the chief advisor and full time contributor at the Fit Indian and has the final say on all the segments under the Fit Indian paradigm, such as beauty, fitness, home remedies, diseases, diet tips, weight loss, weight gain and so on. A foodie herself, she believes in the Hippocrates quote,” Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” A fitness enthusiast, she believes that the combination of diet and exercise can work wonders. When she is not sharing her valuable knowledge about food and fitness, she likes to spend quality time with her family members, do some healthy baking and listen to soft soulful music.
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