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Exercising Without the Proper Warm UpDid you know that not stretching is one of the silliest things you can do at the gym? You'll find that stretching and spending a few minutes getting your muscles warm is the key to a healthy workout, and failing to do so can lead to all kinds of serious problems! Here's why you need to warm up before working out:
Avoid InjuriesWhen you work out with cold muscles and joints, your risk of injuring yourself is much higher. Your muscles are not limber and flexible, so they won't stretch as much. When your muscles can't stretch, the fibers tend to break! You can't work out if you're injured, meaning you can't keep losing weight. If you want to stay healthy and keep your weight loss going, you'll need to warm up in order to avoid those injuries.
Increase Joint LubricationWhen you lift weights, your joints are placed under a great deal of pressure and strain. No matter what exercise you do, the weight you use will work those joints hard. Without the proper lubrication, your joints are at a risk of injury and wear and tear. Stretching helps to get the blood flowing throughout your body, which will increase the amount of lubrication present in your joints. By warming up the synovial fluid between your joints, you decrease the risk of injury and you make it much easier for your muscles to do the work.
Be More FlexibleYou may not think that flexibility is important, but the truth is that flexibility is the key to being healthy. No matter how strong you are, if you aren't flexible, you're going to risk injuries. A smart person focuses on being more flexible while still getting in plenty of exercise.
When you are flexible, your risk of injuries is much lower, and you can do a lot more. You'll be able to get through your workout without pulling muscles or spraining ligaments, and your risk of hurting yourself is reduced.
Get WorkingMany people find it tough to walk into the gym and start working hard right off the bat. It takes a few minutes to get in the groove of things, and that's where stretching and warming up comes in handy. When you take the time to stretch, you start working your mind and body up to the ideal state for your workout. As your muscles warm up, you're psyching yourself up to do that workout. When it actually comes time to lift that weight and push yourself hard, you are much more prepared thanks to the time you spent warming up.
How to StretchThis is very important to keep in mind: don't overstretch those muscles. Did you know that stretching cold muscles can reduce the amount of strength available when it comes time to lift? That means that you can cause yourself to do less exercise if you stretch too much before your workout. The key to smart stretching is just to loosen up the muscles enough that they will be limber and flexible, but without using up the energy that is stored there. You'll find that doing a few minutes of light cardio before your workout will get the blood flowing through your body. Follow that up with a few simple stretches, such as side bends, arm stretches, and stretches for your legs. Spend just a couple of minutes warming up those muscles you're about to use, and hit the weights with one light set before you start working out. Do this, and you'll avoid injury and strain without affecting your muscle strength in any way!