Warm Up Exercises: Are They Necessary?
The practice of static stretching or warm up exercises dates back to the 1980s when it was believed this would prevent injury. More recently, studies investigating the effects of static versus dynamic stretching have demonstrated no evidence that it reduced the risk of injury according to ACE fitness experts. It actually turns off muscle activity as it promotes the lengthening of the connective tissue. Current thinking proposes whole-body integration with dynamic stretching that targets the muscles you are going to work on.
So for a walk at work during your lunch hour, what warm up exercises or stretching should you be doing? Try the following stretches to help you loosen up before heading out for a walk. Get your blood flowing by walking in place for 5 minutes, and then use these easy warm up exercises:
Warm Up Exercise #1: Shoulder Rolls
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and arms relaxed at your sides. Without using your arms, lift your shoulders toward your ears. Circle them back, down, and around. Do 10 shoulder rolls in this direction, and then repeat in the opposite direction.
Warm Up Exercise #2: Torso Pulls
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms out in front of you, and palms touching. Bend your right elbow and pull your hand back toward your right hip as you gently rotate your torso to the right. Bring your hands back together, and then repeat on the left side. Do 10 torso pulls on each side.
Warm Up Exercise #3: Foot Rockers
Bring your feet a little closer together, so they’re just a few inches apart. You can hold onto a chair or wall for balance. Gently roll up onto the balls of your feet and toes, lifting your heels off the ground. Then gently roll back down onto your heels, lifting your toes off the ground. Rolling forward and back, do 10-foot rockers.
Warm Up Exercise #4: Leg Swing
Stand with your feet together and toes facing forward. You can hold onto a chair or wall for balance. Shift your weight onto your left leg, and lift your right hip and leg slightly. Once you find your balance, gently swing your right leg forward and back. Keep your right foot flexed, swing your leg from your hip, and don’t lean your body forward or back. Do 10 leg swings on each side.