May 272010

Go watch the average workout center. You will see people running in, getting to their aerobics class, weight workout, or to hit the aerobics machines and jump right into action. Is this your pattern, too? It is very easy to neglect the warm up stretching, because it does not seem to be the portion of the exercise time giving us the real benefits. Remember that when you pick up the phone to call the Doctor about your latest injury.

Are you protesting that you never get injured working out? When is the last time you missed an exercise session because your back was stiff, your legs were aching, or some other minor problem? Those are injuries. Maybe they did not require you call the doctor, but they are injuries. What if you miss a week of exercise due to a nagging problem? Suddenly the importance of warm up stretching becomes a little more clear.

Taking 5 to 10 minutes to warm up your muscles and stretch them thoroughly before you start exercising will help protect you from most to the annoying little injuries you may have experienced in the past. Often the back injury seems to occur because of some little random twist or turn you made and you feel the little tweak happen in your back. You hope it is not going to cause problems, but you know it probably will. This is exactly the types of injuries which are most times avoided with simple stretching and exercise before you start your exercise routines.

Many aerobics classes, kickboxing exercise programs, and other group exercise programs integrate warm up and stretching at the beginning of their class sessions. This is one reason you must be on time. If you show up late and start the program when it is going full speed, you are not going to perform well, and you will be risking those minor annoying injuries.

If you exercise on your own using the weight equipment, or aerobics machines it is very easy to overlook warm up stretching. You may believe starting off slowly and working up to full speed is good enough, but it does not target all of those supporting muscles, getting them thoroughly warmed up. It does not improve your range of motion, which is one of the biggest factors in avoiding injury. Most of these minor injuring occur because you exceeded your range of motion resulting in a minor muscle or connecting fiber tear. Take those few minutes to warm up and stretch and you will avoid those problems.

It is discouraging when you have worked hard to create a habit of regular exercise, and can see the improvements happening, then to suddenly be sidelined for a few days due to nagging injuries. Starting today, warm up stretching should be at the start of every exercise session. You will be able to keep your progress moving forward, and more importantly not need to worry about finding the doctor’s phone number.

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