Regular exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle, but many people ignore pre-workout routines. Preparing for a workout improves performance, increases stamina, and reduces the risk of injury. Here are five ways to prime the body for a more effective workout routine.
Similar to how most cars need gas to operate, proper nutrition fuels the body for a workout. Consuming foods with healthy carbohydrates and proteins approximately 1 to 2 hours before working out improves performance and post-workout recovery.
For moderate exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 5-7 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. Furthermore, a balance of fast and slow-digesting carbohydrates optimizes performance. Fast-digesting carbohydrates, such as those found in bananas, provide the body with the energy boost needed to get started. Slow-digesting carbohydrates, such as those found in oatmeal, helps the body sustain energy longer.
Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. For moderate workouts, the American College of Sports Medicine suggests consuming approximately 1-2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Healthy sources of protein include nuts and lentils.
Proper hydration is critical for optimal exercise. Dehydration can lead to cramps, dizziness, illness, and reduced performance. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests drinking 16-20 ounces of water before exercising. However, drinking too much water immediately before exercising can cause frequent urination breaks that deplete the body of the water needed during an intense workout.
Sufficient sleep improves focus, stamina, and strength, all of which are needed to sustain a workout routine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need at least 7 hours of sleep per night for optimal performance. Sleep deprivation reduces energy levels, cognitive abilities, strength, and reflexes, all of which are important for a more effective exercise routine.
Pre-workout exercises help increase the heart rate and prepares muscles to work more efficiently during the main workout session. Warm-up exercises also help reduce the chances of strain or injury.
The American Heart Association recommends engaging in light cardio activity for 5-10 minutes before more strenuous exercise. The goal of pre-workout cardio is to help the body adapt to more strenuous workouts by increasing core temperature and blood flow. These activities also provide more efficient blood flow to the muscles, which gives them more power and makes them less likely to strain. Light cardio exercises don’t have to be intense, as too much intensity can drain the body’s energy before the main workout. Some examples of light cardio activities include walking, jogging, and jumping rope.
Stretching before intense workouts warms up muscles and protect them from strain. Exercising without properly stretching can lead to soreness, stiffness, and injury. Overstretching, however, can weaken muscles. During this stage, light stretching is sufficient to warm up muscles and tendons before working out. Harvard Medical School suggests a stretching program of three or four times per week. The stretches should target keys areas such as the neck, shoulders, back, calves, hip flexors, and hamstrings.
Dynamic exercises involve movements that take the body through a full range of motion to warm up muscle groups in the shoulders, legs, arms, etc. An example of a dynamic warm-up exercise is a squat that uses bodyweight. These warm-up exercises also help prime the joints and tendons that give the body a full range of motion.
Pre-exercise supplements can increase energy, focus, and endurance during a workout, such as the EHPlabs pre-workout supplement. While supplements can help optimize exercise, they don’t necessarily change the body’s composition on their own. Furthermore, when not used correctly, supplements can cause negative reactions such as headaches and stomach issues. It is a good idea to get professional feedback before starting any supplement program.
Exercising involves more than simply working out. Priming the body involves consistently incorporating healthy choices into an everyday lifestyle. These helpful tips can make workouts not only safer but also more effective.