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How To Warm Up Before A Cardio Workout

 

Many people don’t warm up before they undertake cardio exercise. When you’re in the mood to exercise and get that heart pumping, you may want to jump into high intensity workouts immediately before the feeling passes. Or perhaps you want to save time and burn more calories. Whatever your excuse, not warming up before your cardio workout is not acceptable.

Why Warm Up?

Warming up your body before a cardio workout serves a number of purposes, such as:
a) Redirecting blood flow from the organs in your body to your muscles, to help muscle movement and flexibility
b) Preparing your mind for the higher intensity activity after the warm up
c) Increasing your heart rate gradually instead of suddenly, as an sudden increase in heart rate can cause dizziness and other unpleasant sensations during the workout
d) Increasing the flexibility of connecting joints, tendons and tissues.

In short, warming up is extremely important and should never be skipped. It may lead to injury, or impair your ability to work out for days or even months (depending on the extent of the injury).

How Do You Warm Up?

For cardio workouts, warming up is really easy; just do whatever you plan to do for your workout at a low intensity. For example, if you cycle to get your dose of cardio exercise, then just cycle at a slow pace to warm up. Likewise with walking, just walk at a brisk but gentle pace (not too slow, as then your heart rate won’t increase). Ideally a warm up should be done for 10 to 15 minutes, followed immediately by the cardio exercise of choice.

Lots of people wonder if one should stretch too as a form of warm up before a cardio workout. Though experts recommend stretching to be done after the workout during the cool-down period, it’s okay to do some light stretching if you are feeling tight or knotted in some areas such as your ankles, back and hips. After all, if you don’t stretch when your body needs you to, you will just end up feeling uncomfortable throughout the workout.

So now that you know the importance of warming up before your cardio workout and how to do it properly, please do implement a warm up routine before each workout. An extra 10 minutes spent warming up can go a long way in making your workout a more successful one and preventing unwanted injuries.

4 Excellent Fitness Apps That’ll Help You Lose Weight

 

Nowadays, we have a number of tools that can help us stay on track to meet our fitness or weight loss goals. With the increasing popularity of smartphones, fitness apps have now become portable and we can use them no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

Here are four of the best fitness apps that’ll help you meet your goals.

1) RunKeeper

If you’re an avid runner, then you should definitely download RunKeeper to your smartphone or tablet. This free app tracks your location and how far (and how long) you’ve run, and uploads the data to the developer’s website where you can access it for free. An excellent app which can help you see how you progress in your running.

2) SportyPal

This is another free app that should be any fitness enthusiast’s best friend. Even if you’re new to exercise, you can make good use out of this app. The app measures your distance, calories burned, speed and more when you turn it on, regardless of what sporting activity you engage in. If you love outdoor activities like hiking and cycling, the app is also capable of tracking your route. You can then sync all the info saved by this app to the central website to take a detailed look at the stats of your fitness activities.

3) NikeBoom

This app (which is also free, don’t you just love that?) gives you an extra push during workouts by picking out high-energy tracks from your phone’s MP3 database and playing them for you. While this app does not track your progress, all of us know that music affects the way we work out, and this app helps to ensure you listen to the right kind to work out at maximum potential.

4) VirtuaGym

For those of us who are at a loss as to what workouts to do, this Android-friendly app (again, free!) gives you great workouts to try out. The app explains everything you need to know about how to perform a specific workout, and even includes pictures to make things clear. It’s just like having a free personal trainer!

These are just a handful of the great apps out there available for those who want to use technology together with their exercise routines. You can explore the internet for more, find the ones suitable for your needs and, before you know it, you’ll be working out like a pro and losing pounds and inches too!

 

Two Reasons To Skip Your Workout

 

Working out isn’t fun for all of us, and we often make up excuses why we shouldn’t do it. However, there are only two reasons one should skip their workout. Unless you fall into one of the two categories below, then you should stick to your workout goals and get your body moving!

Reason One: You Have An Injury

If you’ve been working out too hard and have injured a joint or muscle, it’s time to skip your workouts until your injuries heal. When a muscle or joint is not in proper working condition and you feel pain, that’s your body’s way of telling you to take it easy for a while. Rest at home and treat your injury accordingly.

However, do make sure you can tell an injury apart from muscle soreness; some soreness after weight training is common and will go away in 2 or 3 days. If what you have is muscle soreness, you can take a rest with the weights but continue with your cardio. An injury basically means a sprained body part, dislocated joint or a torn muscle. If it’s painful enough to stop you from doing your basic every day activities, then it’s an injury.

Reason Two: You’re Sick

Suffering with a terrible cold or down with a fever? There’s your reason for skipping a workout. When your body is fighting off an infection, it’s working hard to do it, so cut it some slack and get some rest. Enough sleep and proper hydration will help you get better faster and be in tip-top workout shape again. Skipping your workout can help also you prevent spreading your illness to others, especially if you frequent the gym a lot.

If your doctor advises you to not exercise heavily because of a particular disease, then listen to your physician. There may only be a limited amount of exercise you can do in this case. And no, illnesses that you make up in your mind don’t count!

Now that you know the only two reasons you should skip your workout, stop exercising if you know you are ill or injured. Exercise may be tough, but it definitely brings a lot of benefit by improving your fitness and strengthening your body overall. Try to get at least half an hour of exercise into your daily routine if possible. It will certainly do you lots of good.

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