The most important, yet the most neglected part of any physical activity – warm up exercises. All of us dreaded it in school, as the jumping jacks and squats gnawed big chunks out of our PT periods.
But our bodies were rather warmed up those days. Always running around and being active, the way young kids should be, it’s hard to reinforce the idea of warm-ups. It’s only a rigid body that usually endures the injuries from not being warmed up.
Do I Need to Warm-up?
Everyone needs warm up exercises. Not if you’re just a casual player or a serious player, but even if you don’t play at all. Why? Warm up exercises get your body ready for any activity that demands physical exertion.
The lifestyle of working youngsters of the 21st century doesn’t always involve a lot of moving around. Sitting for hours on end weakens the muscles. Without any physical exercise, you are likely to injure your muscles even in everyday simple situations that requires you to lift or bend down.
Warming up before will ensure that your muscles don’t get too sore from all the physical strain. It also increases the body’s blood circulation and flexibility,
However, the modern world has so many things to do and not enough hours in a day. So here are 5 quick warm up exercises that’ll smoothen your experience, whether it’s playing badminton or moving house.
1. Touching Toes
As you spend more hours sitting and standing, your hamstrings, lower back and calves can get too rigid. This can prove this exercise to be really tough at first. But slowly stretching more each time is the trick.
Start by standing straight and bending down without bending your legs. It is important not to bend down in one quick motion as this can possibly cause injuries to your back muscles. Taking it gradually will ensure better flexibility and thereby quicker and seamless movements while you’re on court.
2. Ankle Rotations
This exercise is best done lying down on your back or sitting on a chair. Lift your right leg just about 20 inches upwards and hold it still. Now rotate your feet for 10 seconds before you put it down. Repeat with your left leg.
This warms up your ankles and helps you prevent sprains or twists that can arise from quick movements during a game.
3. Jumping Jacks
To perform this exercise, start by standing straight with your legs together and arms down. Now jump up while you spread your hands and legs sideways. Make sure your arms go above your shoulder level. When you hit the ground, go back to your first position and repeat.
Jumping jacks are a great way to start your warm up. Begin by lightly jumping to increase blood circulation. This will also heat up the body before any sudden movements.
As a plyometric exercise (explosive aerobic workouts), it strengthens the whole body and improves cardiovascular health as well. For beginners, it’s best to start with 10 jumping jacks and move on to the next exercise.
4. High Knee Run
Imagine running, but without moving. Stand straight and lift each leg as high as you can, one after the other while swinging your arms as in a running motion. This exercise is a great alternative to squats as it improves your core strength while strengthening your lower body.
As a highly intensive workout with exaggerated lifting of the knees, it ensures that the whole body is warmed up with just this exercise. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start it somewhere between 20-30 seconds per day and gradually increase the time.
2. Arm Circles
This exercise activates the muscles around your shoulder and arms. Start by extending both arms sideways at shoulder level. Now move your hands in small circular motions. It will tone your shoulder muscles and make sure your hands are ready for quick movements.
This exercise is not done based on reps, but simply till you feel a burning sensation around the muscles in question. By doing this daily, you’ll start noticing the improvement in your endurance.
Hitting the court without warming up your body poses serious problems to your health. Doing short bursts of all these exercises ensures a fit body that’s ready for action. Over time, it will improve your flexibility and strengthen all your muscles.
While these warm ups are best done before a game or a workout, doing them regularly will tone your body and keep every muscle in your body activated.
Having a tailor made warm up routine that suits your needs is the best way to go if you’re a serious player. But until you get there, just do these simple warm up exercises to avoid injuries while you better your game. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.
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