Pre-Exercise Basics

The first thing you ought to do before you get started on your own exercise routine is to prepare yourself. If you haven't done any exercise in a while, chances are you body will need to get some preliminary light movements before getting started on the more strenuous exercises that are part of whatever routine you have chosen to do for yourself.

This article looks at the basics of exercise and runs through the pre-exercise stage that is important to do if you want to get the most from your efforts.

Stretching

pre exercise basicsBefore you do any kind of exercise, you should always begin by stretching! This is an exercise in itself because it primes you body and its muscles as well as its joints, tendons and all moving parts for the coming exertions.

We all know how to have a good stretch first thing in the morning after a good night's sleep. It's a natural process we generally tend to go through. Preparing for exercise simply takes that process one stage further.

To really get prepared for the coming exercises, you should systematically stretch your entire body, one area at a time. That's because try as you may, you won't be able to get it all in one go!

Start wherever you feel most comfortable to get you in the right frame for an all over body stretch. Some like to start with the back, so stand up straight and raise your arms and reach for the sky, giving your back a really good stretch. Your arms also stretch as you are doing this.

You can add your legs to this by allowing them to stretch, giving you the sensation that your legs are trying to grow longer as you really feel the pull.

You legs will take the brunt of most of the exercises you will be doing, so they need to get several different stretching exercises to ensure all the muscles get an even amount of loosening up. Stretch your thighs by lifting your left foot back towards the back of your left knee.

Then take the foot in your left hand and pull upwards, holding for a few seconds. You'll feel your thighs pulling tight. Repeat for your right leg.

Stretch your calves by sitting on a chair, lifting both legs out front of you and make your toes pull towards you by stretching your feet backwards. You'll feel your calves pulling tight for a few seconds and then release. Do this a few times to really loosen up those muscles!

Warming Up

The next phase in preparation is warming up and you do this before you start your workout proper. Warming up usually consists of doing some light exercises to get your circulation flowing faster. It involves limbering up your muscles in readiness for the more strenuous exertions you will be putting them through when you get started with your planned work out.

This is usually done by running on the spot, some rope skipping, or some other form of free flowing exercise designed to loosen up the muscles you will be using. If that workout is swimming, then doing some slow strokes along the pool in all the several disciplines that you intend doing at greater exertion levels is a great way to loosen up.

If it's sprinting, then a low jog is sufficient. If it involves weight training, then rope skipping loosens up the arm muscles as well as the legs and torso. Or you can do light arm exercises without weights or with very light dumbbells to get those muscles loose and flexible, with the blood pumping faster to them to supply the much needed oxygen and energy.

This is also a great way to prepare yourself to lose weight in a natural and enjoyable way.

Once you've done all your stretching and warming up, then you are ready to start your workout. Your muscles will be ready for greater exertions with less chance of damage because they have been pre-loosened and they will perform better because you have increased blood flow to prevent that initial energy and oxygen starvation that occurs when you miss your warm up.

Being fully prepared means you will get so much more from your exercise routine and you'll be safer with far less risk of injury as well. This is excellent advice especially if you are using exercise as a means to lose weight slowly or improve your fitness levels, or just to tone up your body to look and feel great. Here is some more info on "How to warm up before exercising." Have a good work out!

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