Let’s talk about warm up exercises and stretches.
I know what you might be thinking, “But Dr. Jen, do I have to warm up? “I really don’t like stretching” “Does stretching even do anything?”
While you don’t “have to” warm up or stretch before exercise, I highly recommend it. Here’s why: it prevent injuries. Your muscles were not intended to go from being at rest to a full sprint in an instant. You need a few minutes of gentle movement to get the blood flowing, to loosen up muscles, to lubricate your joints and to shift your brain from rest and digest mode to activity mode. Taking just a few minutes before exercise can save you a lot pain, recovery and time in the long run.
While most of us were probably taught to do some stretching before we engage in physical activity. (Remember PE class :)). Most of us were taught to do static stretching, which is holding a body part in one position for a set time with the intention of lengthening a specific muscle or muscle group.
But is static stretching the best warmup? I would say that there are better options. I personally love doing a dynamic warm up exercise instead. This is a great way to get your body ready for activity by stretching while moving rather than while standing still or sitting. Getting more thoroughly warmed up in this way will help prevent injury and you will likely notice less soreness and aches & pains afterward. Not only is a dynamic warm up a great way to prepare your body for exercise it can also be kind of fun. 🙂
Check out these favorites of mine. Give them a try before your next workout, hike, run, or any other physical activity, your body will thank you!