Prepare Even Before You Warm Up
If stretching is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about preparing for exercise, you might want to think again.
Even before you begin stretching or otherwise warming up, there are a few preparations you should always make:
1. Get sufficient rest. When was your last workout? How hard did you push your body? Have you given your body enough time to repair itself?
Most of us spend a lot of time putting together and optimizing our workout routines, but few of us put as much thought or consideration into rest. Yet proper rest is absolutely necessary for a successful fitness program.
Without it, not only does the risk of injury increase, but workouts also become less effective. Our muscles simply need time to restore themselves following rigorous activity.
2. Eat and drink properly. If you're going to work out, you have to provide your body with the fuel it needs to sustain a high degree of performance.
That means eating nutritious foods that will supply a sufficient amount of energy. It's a mistake to think that exercising will make up for poor food choices.
When you eat is just as important as what you eat. Time your meals and your workouts to avoid feeling bloated or hungry. Depending on the exercise you are doing, you may need to eat something during exercising as well.
To keep hydrated, you should also drink water or a sports drink during workouts.
3. Stretch gently and slowly. Only after you've had sufficient rest and eaten properly, should you begin your stretching routine in preparation for more vigorous exercise.
So as not to neglect any part of the body, I find it useful to start at the feet and work my way up to the head. For example, you may begin with some gentle ankle rolls or stretches for your Achilles tendon. \
Moving up the body, you may move on to your hamstrings and quadriceps. Continue moving up the body this way, finishing with some neck rolls or stretches. Above all else, stretch gently and slowly.
Don't be afraid to spend as much time stretching as you do in your main workout. Finally, don't forget to do the same after your workout, or during your cool down period.
Follow these tips and you will enjoy exercising a whole lot more.