My Second (of 3), Most Important Fitness Tips. With Action-taking steps to Start Doing Immediately

Confession – This next tip is something I used to be guilty of NOT DOING myself years ago.

Whether your fitness goals are: weight loss, improvements in strength, or improvements in flexibility and mobility this piece of advice, in my opinion, is essential to moving forward in your fitness goals.

If you missed my first tip (AKA The 1st most important,) click here.

Back in the day my rationale behind doing a warm-up consisted of only 10 minutes on the treadmill.

While 10 minutes on the treadmill is not bad/wrong, it’s not ideal as it keeps all your joints in the same state that they would normally be moving through anyways.

A PROPER WARM-UP IS EXTREMELY BENEFICIAL NO MATTER WHAT YOUR FITNESS GOALS ARE.

A proper ‘warm-up’ means doing drills and exercises to:

  • Take your joints and muscles into range of motions similar to the exercises you are about to do. i.e. if you are doing a lat pull-down – warm up/loosen up the shoulders so the overhead portion of the exercise isn’t straining the shoulder joint.
  • Activate muscles that haven’t been activated in our normal, daily posture.

For example, I go through this hip mobility drills with clients to help lubricate and rotate the hips or a do a hip opening stretch flow like this.

Why Spend Extra Time Warming Up When I Barely Have Time to Exercise?

I think the misconception here is that people think when they’re warming up, that their workout hasn’t actually started therefore, “wasting precious time.” Not at all.

For myself, I would engage in a floor routine for about 10 minutes to engage my core and other muscles, which allows for:

1.    Mobility! So the muscles don’t perceive danger and tighten up to prevent movement, rather they welcome the challenge and engage to their fullest potential.

2.    Mental Preparation! The body needs time to switch out of whatever mode you were in pre-exercise. Switching into exercise-mode means your mind is ready to push the limits. Exercising mindfully is important to maximize efficiency of each exercise.

3.    More OXYGEN to muscles! Like I said in this video – Oxygen is fuel for our muscles. More oxygen = better performance, fat-burning, recovery, reduced stress!

How do I choose proper “warm-up” exercises?

 Great question!!! Here are some questions to go through to choose an appropriate warm-up.

Have I been sitting all day? (Generally don’t advise people choose the bike when they’ve been sitting all day.)

Have I been running around all day? (You can guess what I generally don’t advise if you’ve been running around all day.)

Does anything feel tight?

Did my Physio/Kinesiologist give me exercises to do for my _____ pain?

What type of exercises/muscle groups will I be focusing on today?

Have I been stressed all day? (What can I do to calm my mind and body down just a little to switch from real-life mode into exercise therapy mode).

Did I just wake up?  Body is stiff and immobile during sleep.

When is the last time I worked out? (Will a longer warm-up serve me better?)

Warm-up Ideas

We love our stretch flows at Active Kinetix, here are a few more ideas:

Stretch flow for lower body/knee pain

Stretch flow for Hip and Ankle Mobility (My favourite!)

Hip Flexor Stretch Flow

Mid-back stretch Flow (This was super popular on our Instagram page)

Two minutes of diaphragmatic or mindful breathing to allow your body to catch up to yourself (love this one!).

Foam roll to release any tight spots.

I’ll end here for now though I really feel I could go on about this topic for much longer.

I didn’t even get into the importance of warming up if you have/had injuries.

Remember our BODY loves change. Our mind… not so much.The mind will always want us to stay in a comfortable, familiar, place. It’s a protective thing. In this case, we need to branch out to make NEW neuromuscular connections and allow our mind and body to reach new possibilities

Go to the 3rd and final Fitness Tip

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Asma Kassam, BHK, CFST
Kinesiologist, Personal Trainer, & Health & Fitness coach
Active Kinetix Fitness
Burnaby, Vancouver