Scheduling time to warm up your body prior to your exercise regimen plays a key role in optimizing your workout. Warm up exercises also improves blood circulation, increases heart rate, performance levels, mental outlook, flexibility, plus reduces muscle stiffness and injury risks. Doing a number of slow-controlled stretches and gentle cardio will be your best bet. These movements take your muscles and joints through the full range of motion needed to optimize your workout.
1) Neck tilts
Get your neck ready by either standing or sitting in an upright position. Pretend there is a straight string going from the top of your head to the bottom of your spine. Gently tilt your head to your right shoulder and hold for five second. Return to center position and relax five seconds. Gently lower your head to your left shoulder and hold for five seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times.
2) Shoulder rolls
Shoulder rolls are perfect ways to warm up your upper body. Gently start moving your shoulders in a circular motion. Slowly lift your shoulders toward your ears, toward your back, and then back down to the starting position. Move them so they point toward the front of your body. Repeat this exercise 15 times. This exercise can also be done using one shoulder at a time.
While using both shoulders to do the rolls, you may like to hold your shoulders in each position for 5-10 seconds to improve the effectiveness of the stretch. This is particularly helpful when you bring your shoulders together behind your back. This exercise can be isolated and titled a scapular stretch or press.
3) Upper body rotation
Improve your spinal and upper body readiness by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your arms out to the sides until you resemble the letter “T”. Point your palms toward the floor. Slowly begin rotating your upper body from right to left. Do this 15 times. Gently bend your knees during this stretching exercise to reduce back stress.
4) Arm Swings
After you are done with the rotations, do some simple arm swings. Slowly lift your arms above your head, then move them forward, down, and backward. Do 10 arm swings. Gently slow down by swinging your arms from front to back.
5) Toe touches
Even if you cannot reach your toes, you can go through the toe touching motion to warm up your muscles. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your upper body forward as far as possible. Feel the stretch along the backside of your knees (the area known as your hamstrings), back, and neck. Hold this stretch for as long as comfortable. Reduce your back strain by slightly bending your knees, if needed.
6) Light cardio
One of the best ways to warm up your body is by doing gentle cardio. Choose your favorite activity like riding a stationary bike, using an elliptical machine, or a treadmill. Use the lowest settings and start exercising for 5-10 minutes. You can also go for a leisurely walk as your form of gentle cardio.
Instead of hastily entering your exercise regime, take the time to warm up your body. Warming up gives your body time to adjust to a more rigorous exercise program.