The biggest mistake I see mature athletes making is not doing a proper warm-up before their workout.
During midlife and beyond, preparing your body for exercise is absolutely essential to avoid injury and prevent postural imbalances.
Additionally, the better the warm-up, the better the workout – and that means positive results and a better return on your time and energy investment.
Lower in this article you’ll find a video of a complete warm-up that you can do before each workout.
Prioritizing Joint Mobility and Muscular Flexibility After Age 50
A significant number of patients seen in sports medicine clinics are there because of skeletal muscle injuries, joint injuries, or misalignment of the lower-back vertebrae – all injuries that often can be prevented by proper preparation before a workout.
Research has established that a good warm-up oxygenates your heart so it can prepare to perform at a higher rate of intensity.
The same happens with the other muscles of your body – warm blood and oxygen are circulated into the muscles, raising your body temperature gradually.
Whether you do resistance training at the gym, play tennis, jog, or golf, it’s benefited by a good warm-up.
Static VS Ballistic: Knowing the Best Type of Warm-Up
The kind of warm-up you do matters.
Static stretching (creating a deep stretch in a muscle and holding it for at least 30 seconds) is usually best saved for your post-workout cool-down. This will help reduce day-after muscle soreness.
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Ballistic stretching – consisting of slow, gentle, and rhythmic movements – is what belongs in your warm-up.
Joint Health: Releasing Synovial Fluid During Your Warm-Up
Joints are covered by tissue called the synovial membrane.
This means that, ultimately, joints release something called synovial fluid during your warm-up. It’s a solution that lubricates your joints and lowers the risk of injury and stress on the tendons and ligaments.
According to medical doctor John Haselow, “as synovial fluid is secreted and becomes less viscous, friction at the joint is greatly reduced. Synovial fluid also serves as a transport medium to provide nutrients to the articulating cartilage and to remove waste.”
- Soft head rolls (in each direction).
- Look right and left.
- Chin tucks.
- Side neck stretch.
- Shoulder rolls.
- Clock (single arm circles).
- Hand circles for wrists.
- Forearm circles for elbows.
- Arm shake.
- Doorknob twists with “T” arms.
- Spine rotations.
- Vacuum and overhead stretch (alteranting).
- Rag doll and spine roll ups (alternating).
- Knee circles for hip (each direction).
- Leg shake.
- Leg rocker (forward and back).
- Foot circles for ankle (each direction).
The warm-up is your opportunity to see how your body is operating on any given day. If there’s an issue, you want to discover it during the warm-up and not the workout.
Proceed gingerly. There are certain areas – the neck, shoulders, hips, lower back, and knees – that can sometimes get stiff or tender, and, if you use them too intensely too soon, they can injure. So start your warm-up slowly and think of it as an exploration. In Star Trek terms, you could say the warm-up is your diagnostic scan.
When you do arm or leg shakes, be sure there is nothing nearby – a person, a wall, or furniture – that you could hit.
As usual, get the go-ahead from your own doctor before making any significant changes to your health habits.
What You Need to Know about Your Warm-Up (Conclusion)
One of the fitness mistakes people make most often is neglecting to warm up their body sufficiently for an impending workout. A foam roller provides the perfect solution.
The idea behind a warm-up is to gradually raise your body temperature – so that your muscles are less cold and more pliable – and to lubricate your joints so that you can prevent injury as you put your physique under increasingly stressful loads:
- For athletes in their 20s, warming up is still a good idea – though a ten-minute warm-up might be all that’s required to prepare a young body for a strenuous workout.
- For athletes in their 30s and above, warming-up is a higher priority.
- For people over the age of 50, it is imperative.
By the way, a good post-workout cool down can also be very helpful.
Kinetix – https://biokinetix.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Warm-Up-Difference-by-BIOKINETIX.pdf
Tri-City Medical Center – https://www.tricitymed.org/2016/12/warming-cooling-important/