Warm Up Stretches

Any exercise routine or sport demands a period of warm up stretches before the actual work out. Whether you are a runner, a swimmer, you play soccer, practice yoga or aerobics; you will need to do a set of warm up stretches before exercising.

These stretches are imperative as they get the heart pumping and blood circulating in the body. This prepares the body for the intense work out that follows.

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Benefits of Warm Up Exercises
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Warm Up Stretches Before Exercise

Warm up stretches before any exercise also increases the body temperature, allowing the muscles to function smoothly. As a result this will also enhance your performance and better your ability to perform. As the body warms up, the blood vessels reduce their resistance and the amount of stress on the heart is correspondingly reduced as well. Oxygen flows easily and thus you receive more energy. A proper warm up can make you stronger, faster and more flexible. For professional athletes the warm up routine allows them to focus and concentrate on the game ahead. It can psyche the body up to face the challenges of the match or game ahead. A proper warm up reduces injury and muscle strain and increases the range of motion of the joints allowing you to go deeper into movements and enjoy an intense work out.

Warm up stretches can differ depending on what type of sport you play or what kind of exercise or activity you plan to do. If you play soccer for example, a warm up game before the real match can help your focus and plan your strategy while getting your body ready to play. If you are a runner, several small runs or jogs can prepare your body for the sprint or race ahead. Generally people practice static stretches where you hold a position at its maximum point and then release.

There is also another type of warm up stretch called a dynamic warm up stretch, which involves stretching with motion or movement. While these exercises don’t increase your flexibility as much as static stretches can, they do improve your overall strength and cardio vascular activity making for a very effective warm up as well. Dynamic warm up stretches include arm swings, walking lunges, raised leg walks and much more. These can improve performance and reduce injury but should be done under supervision or with the correct training.

Warm Up Stretches Before Running

Warm up stretches before running can protect your body from soreness and injury. With the correct type of stretches targeted towards your legs, hips and core, you can maximize your potential and train your body to improve itself. The key thing to remember when performing any warm up stretches is that there should be no bouncing. Bouncing can only harm and damage muscles and stretches them too suddenly. It is important to stretch slowly and with control so that you gain the most benefits from the exercise.

Yoga Warm Up Stretches

Yoga warm up stretches are also necessary. Much like any other form of exercise, with yoga too you need to get your body and mind to focus on the task at hand and a proper warm up can accomplish this perfectly. Yoga warm up stretches gets your blood flowing and provides fresh oxygen into your body. Flexibility improves and stiffness of muscles is dramatically reduced. If you practice yoga first thing in the morning, you need to start your routine with a warm up especially. Yoga warm up stretches also relieve any built up tension in the body before the actual yoga poses or asanas begin.

Warm Up Stretches For Soccer

Warm up stretches for soccer can make the difference between playing a match and winning a match. Matches normally last for 90 minutes and require intense concentration and physical activity. A proper warm up routine can help you prepare your body and train it to anticipate the challenges to come. Dynamic warm up stretches are proving very useful and popular with soccer players and coaches as the movements mimic the action when playing.

Warm Up Stretches For Walking

Even if the only exercise you do is walking, you still need to start your walk with a warm up.

Warm up stretches for walking include strolling for five minute before slowly building up your pace and stride. Climbing stairs improves your cardio vascular activity and improves stamina and endurance. It also gives your walking routine a bit of a variation and change, which is always welcome.

Warm Up Stretches For Kids

If your kids play any sports or even if they don’t, try and incorporate a routine of warm up stretches for kids into their daily routine. Children also need to stretch and strengthen their bodies to prevent injuries, build their immunity, recover from accidents and intense exercise and increase their natural flexibility.

Warm Up Stretching Exercises

Some easy warming up stretching exercises to try out are:

The Calf Stretch:

  1. Stand straight facing a wall at a distance of about three feet.
  2. Place your hands on the wall and place the right foot a little ahead of the other.
  3. Bend your elbows slightly and press into the wall with your left knee bending forward.
  4. You should be able to feel a stretch in the calf of your left knee.
  5. Hold and release. Repeat on the other side.
  6. Do not bounce when doing this stretch and adjust the distance between both feet if the stretch feels uncomfortable.

Hamstring Stretch

If you suffer from tight hamstrings try this simple stretch.

  1. Sit with your legs out in front of you and your back straight.
  2. Reach forward from the waist and extend your arms and try and touch your knees, ankles, or toes (whatever is comfortable for you).
  3. Hold this position and then release.
  4. Keep your knees straight at all times to really feel the stretch.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Hip flexors get tight and inflexible with age and misuse. Weak hip flexors can also lead to lower back pain and restricted movements.

  1. Lie down on your back and pull alternate knees to your chest.
  2. Keep the other leg flat on the ground flexing your calves to ensure that the leg doesn’t lift off or bend.
  3. This should loosen your hip flexors gradually.

Warm Up Stretches : Do's & Don'ts

Some simple dos and don’ts of warm up stretching include :

Do's:

  • Structuring your warm up routine.
  • Ease your body into exercise by building up on each set of stretches.
  • Remember stretching is a part of a warm up but not the whole warm up.
  • You need to also increase your heart rate so that your body is ready for the activity to come.
  • This can include some light exercise such as walking briskly or jogging and should continue for a minimum of ten minutes.
  • If you are a professional athlete or play a competitive sport you may need a longer warm up routine.

Don'ts

  • Don’t jump into an intense activity from the beginning. Rather start off with some gentle static stretches and then move on to a dynamic stretch routine.

Warm Up Stretches Benefits

  • A proper set of warm up stretches can reduce stiffness of muscles, increase oxygen intake, strengthen muscles, increase blood flow and improve focus and concentration.
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