If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard a thousand times: Everyone from your virtual coach to your doctor is constantly nagging about “warming up” before workouts. But what if your workout is a daily walk? You know you need to warm up before weightlifting or other seriously strenuous exercise, but what about for walking? Is a warm-up period really necessary?
Actually, yes. While walking might seem to be the most simple form of exercise, because you’ve been doing it most of your life, a walking workout is a bit different from strolling around the grocery store or office. If the goal is to burn calories and support your weight loss plan, you probably plan on a reasonably strenuous pace. And going from sedentary to a fast walking pace can actually strain your muscles and joints.
This is especially true if your workout is scheduled at the end of a work day, when you’ve been sitting all day, or first thing in the morning after waking up from sleep. You never want to go from a resting position to strenuous exercise without a warm-up period, because your muscles and joints aren’t ready to accept the work load yet.
So, what kind of warm-up moves are acceptable before your walk? Just perform a few ankle circles, leg swings, and walking lunges on each side, and address any other sore muscles with stretches aimed specifically at those areas. Then, begin walking at a casual pace for about five minutes, gradually increasing your speed.
You’re correct to assume that an extended and complicated warm-up session is probably not necessary for a simple walk, but you also don’t want to launch into a strenuous pace immediately. If you’re feeling sore the day after workouts, that is a sign that you’re stressing your muscles and should spent a bit more time on stretching and warming up.
As a bonus, performing dynamic stretches as part of your warm-up can also add a bit of toning to your overall workout regimen.
As always, give us a call if you have any questions about your workouts or weight loss plan. We can help you troubleshoot your routine and offer solutions to address any problems you might be having.