Warming-up and Stretching: Routines that Have Taken the Backseat

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People exercise or workout for various reasons. Many workout to build their muscles while others exercise to lose some weight and burn excess fat. While exercise indeed has many health benefits, doing them properly is the key to improved overall health. In line with this, warming up and stretching are important in any physical activity. These activities play critical roles in preparing the body for workouts, both physically and mentally. Having proper warm-up and stretching routines before workouts may decrease the chances of developing injuries.

Stretching and warm-up are two different things. A lot of people confuse stretching with the warm-up phase. Stretching is a part of the warm-up routine, but stretching alone is not the warm-up.

The term warm-up is described by many as light-aerobic and cardiovascular activities. Sports specialists believe that the time spent on warming up may improve the level of performance and boost the recovery process needed before training or competition. In addition to these benefits, warms-ups are needed to alter the body from a resting state to an exercise state.

A good warm-up session may prepare the body for workout by increasing the blood flow to the muscles, boosting body temperature, and speeding-up metabolism. A warm-up activity is usually the slower-paced version of the activity that is about to be done. For example, before going for a long jog, warm-up by jogging in place or doing a couple of minutes of light jog.

Warming-up may also do the following:

increase the heart and respiratory rate
boost the amount of nutrients and oxygen delivered to the muscles
prepare the body for a excruciating workout
make it easier to burn more calories
extend one's workout routine

A good warm-up session, which is about five to ten minutes works best if followed by stretching. This is done because stretching cold muscles may lead to pulled or torn muscles. Stretching properly may lead to increased range of movements and help prevent injuries by prompting recovery and decreasing muscle soreness. Health experts believe that the possibility of getting injured may decrease if the tendons and muscles are more conditioned.

Stretching is beneficial only when done correctly. Below are some of the things that should be remembered when stretching:

Stretch only when the muscles are warm or after a warm-up session.
Breathe deeply through each stretch.
Listen to your body and know your stretching limitations. Mild tension during every stretch is normal, but do not go beyond the point where too much pain is experienced.
Hold each stretch for at least ten seconds.
Stretch slowly and don't bounce. Rapid bouncing may tear and overstretch the muscle fibers and tendons.
Never stretch forcefully.

Warming up and stretching before and after working out is important in maintaining a healthy body. These workout routines however should be done properly to reap its health benefits. Before starting a fitness program, individuals are encouraged to seek the advice of doctors and other health professionals. They may devise a fitness program and diet appropriate for the health needs of various individuals.

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