Whilst warming up for exercise is important all year round to prevent injury, the cold weather that comes with Winter means that your muscles are generally tighter and more prone to injury. Add an extra 5-10 minutes to your warm up routine before putting muscles through an intense workout, to avoid any undue strains or tears.
If you don’t know where to begin, here are 3 simple ways to warm up your body thoroughly. The good news is that these can all be done safely indoors, before you move your workout to the colder outdoors.
- Stretch it out
Remember that a strong and healthy muscle is also the foundation of a strong and pain-free joint, so those suffering from arthritis need to protect and strengthen their muscles even more so. Stretching elongates the muscles and also adds flexibility, which will make you glide through your subsequent workout with ease.
Ensure to stretch all of your muscles, starting with flexing your feet, moving to your calves and then through to your hamstrings, before moving onto the upper body.
Tip: some simple joint rotations or body twists will help with stretching upper body muscle groups which might seem otherwise hard to access. Gentle twists will engage the obliques, whilst arm rotations will get the shoulders and traps moving.
Warm up the muscles around your weight-bearing joints in your lower body, like your knees and ankles, with a set of gentle squats. Refer to an exercise guide or ask your local gym if you need some assistance perfecting your squat to avoid strain or injury, but as a general rule:
- place your hands behind your head or in front of your body
- keep your back straight and upright
- squat straight down and back up, slowly, keeping everything from the waist upwards still
- repeat in small sets
Tip: remember, this a warm up only so don’t do too many reps or push your body too hard. You can come back to more later if you feel this area needs more of a workout.
- Jumping Jacks
Once your muscles are activated and your lower body has started to feel a bit of a burn, it is time to get your heart rate up. A simple set of jumping jacks gets the blood pumping round your body and to your muscles, to lessen the likelihood of injury.
- stand with your feet together and your arms by your side
- jump up to part your legs and simultaneously bring your hands over your
Tip: bringing your hands together in a clap formation above your head can help with maintaining a good rhythm here.
It can be tempting to skip your warm up, especially if you are low in motivation, but remember that your body will thank you in the long run. As your body gets used to your warm up routine, it will soon become second nature to you!