Just because the winter chill has rolled in, it doesn’t mean you should give up on your exercise routines – although, we can all guilty of hibernating during the winter!
The one irritating thing for many people when it comes to exercising in the cold is your body’s reaction to the conditions, which can cause your muscles seize up. This is because cold muscles do not operate at their full potential, with your range of motion and potential strength limited at best. Warming your muscles effectively allows them to become more flexible and mobile, and prepares them for the exercise ahead.
This time of year can often result in more injuries, sprains and strains than any time of year, so sitting indoors when you could be out training is not an ideal way to spend the start to your 2018! That’s why it’s even more important to focus on a good warm-up. We’ve gone ahead and put together an effective winter warm-up routine for you to avoid an injury, so you can enjoy an injury-free start to the year!
So, what constitutes an effective warm up? Well, a few static stretches and a five-minute jog may feel like an appropriate enough time to spend on your warm up, this is not the case at all. Recent studies have indicated that a five-minute cardio warm-up had the same effect as no warm up at all. If you’re someone who skimps out on their warm-up routine, then this may indicate why you have been suffering with injuries from your exercise. The best warm-up routine was found include;
- Low-intensity workouts
- Around fifteen minutes long
Combining these elements helps to bring your body temperature up without causing fatigue before the main event.
Bodyweight mobility exercises can be the best warm-up choice because these types of stretches can improve muscular performance. They will also increase your heart rate, without causing fatigue like other warm-up techniques, and intensity can be adjusted to give you a successful session. These types of warm-ups will allow you to warm up your whole body, before bracing the cold winter air!
Here are a handful of easy-to-follow instructions for mobility-boosting exercises that will help you get the best out of your winter warm-up. Remember to start slow, and don’t be tempted to speed up the stretches – quality is key here. It is advised to follow this list in order, as the warm-ups become more active as you make your way down.
The Morning Stretch
To begin the morning stretch, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet planted hip-width apart and complete the following moves:
Inhale, lifting your hips as high as you can, and then exhale dropping your hips back down. Repeat these a further three times.
Inhale, bringing your knees to your chest and your forehead to your knees. On the exhale, stretch your legs upwards as this will warm-up your abdominal muscles and bring your legs over your head. Repeat this for a further three times.
Roll up into a seated position on your next inhale; on the exhale, roll back down. Repeat these three times, making sure that you finish in a seated position.
Cat Spine Stretch
Go on to your hands and knees. On your exhale drop your tailbone, so that your back arches. On the next inhale lift your back, making sure to roll your shoulders back as your chest opens. Repeat this for a further three times.
Cat Paw Stretch
Exhale whilst walking your hands forward, ensure that your hips are still as your chest falls toward the floor. Then make your way backwards, inhaling as you do so. Repeat this for a further three times.
It is best to repeat this sequence another three to five times, going from the cat paw stretch to the bridge lift in a loop, to see the full benefits.
While warm-ups like this may seem like a lot of effort, it is best to prepare your body properly for your exercise routine.
Our last piece of advice is to arm yourself early with runner’s knee pain relief, so if you do feel any slight twinges, you can treat it immediately.