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The best warm-up exercises

Warm-up exercises are essential for a workout to be safe and effective at the same time. Be sure to check out these warm-up exercises.

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The warm-up is an integral part of every workout. It ensures that your body is prepared for physical exertion and that your muscles are properly stretched. A good warm-up guarantees that you won’t pull a muscle during your workout – as long as your workout is well thought out. Be sure to check out how to perform the perfect warm-up.

Your warm-up should combine some aerobic exercise and stretching. This will increase your starting heart rate, but also prepare your muscles for sudden contraction and relaxation.

Dynamic stretching exercises

During dynamic stretching, your muscles not only get stretched a lot, but they also toughen up for the effort ahead of them. It should involve many parts of our body and cannot be omitted during the warm-up.

Back and leg muscle stretching

Dynamic bends will stretch the muscles of your legs and back at the same time. Perform dynamic bends, taking care not to strain your lumbar region. First, bend forward so that your head hangs between your legs and your hands try to touch the ground. Then, smoothly move to your left leg, and then to your right leg. During the incline, try to dynamically deepen it. Perform the stretch in a reasonable manner – your back should be slightly rounded. You should not feel any pain during the stretch, only the feeling of stretching along the entire length of your spine.

Hand Stretching

Interlace your hands and straighten your arms at the elbows. Then, lift your hands to the height of your chest and try to stretch them as much as possible. During this stretch, you will feel a pulling of the muscles from your shoulders to your forearms. Rhythmically try to pull your hands and return to less tense muscles.

Another way to stretch your arms is to draw your straight arm to your chest. Position it so that it is diagonally across your torso. Then hold it against your chest with your other hand and dynamically pull it tighter to your chest. Stretch the muscles of your other hand in the same way.

Photo Klaus Nielsen/Pexels

Aerobic exercises

You should also do aerobic exercises during the warm-up. One of them is jumping once on one leg and then on the other. Jump up while bringing the leg bent at the knee to your chest. Land on one leg and dynamically change it to the other, lifting the first leg to the chest.

A very good part of the warm-up are also jumping jacks. When doing jumping jacks, remember that the jumps should not be high – what matters is the dynamics of the movement and spreading the arms and legs wide, so that all the muscles of the limbs are worked.

Don’t forget to warm up your hips – using them, perform so called figure eights, as well as transfer your body weight from one leg to another, at the same time pushing your hip out to the side. This element of the warm-up will allow you to prepare your body for sit-ups or squats.

To warm up the muscles of the legs, it is very helpful to quickly jog, as well as rises on tiptoe. While performing them, it is good to hold the silhouette up a little bit so that the calf muscles work harder and get used to working harder during the workout. Many people also use extra weight in the form of dumbbells to make the warm-up more effective.

When warming up, it is also a good idea to use available machines such as a stationary bike or a treadmill. However, an orbiter will have the most comprehensive effect, making you work both your leg and arm muscles. You can put extra weight on it, so you’ll already burn calories while doing your warm-up.

Some people also use a spinning wheel to massage their muscles before a workout, but it’s a much better idea to get them moving. Leave the massage for after your workout.

Main photo: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

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Sport

6 sports ideal for everyone

It is known, it is impossible to get along with everyone. This also applies to sports. And yet there are activities that are beneficial and fun for everyone (well, almost). Learn about these types of sports and try them out for yourself!

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There are many types of sports and each has its pros and cons. The ideal sport should improve our well-being and health. It should also give pleasure, not be an unpleasant chore. Here is a list of 6 sports activities that seem to meet the above requirements.

Nordic walking

The popularity of Nordic walking should come as no surprise. The sport combines aerobic training, which increases oxygen saturation levels in all vital muscles and organs, leg and arm strength training, and cardio training, which strengthens the heart muscle. Pushing off with sticks reduces stress on the spine and joints, so doctors recommend this type of sport to people who have problems with the musculoskeletal system, nervous system and respiratory system, as well as the elderly and those for whom excessive physical exertion is contraindicated.

Yoga

Yoga classes increase body flexibility and correct posture. Regular practice of yoga provides everyone with many benefits: it increases energy levels, balance, muscle strength and endurance, improves concentration and accelerates recovery. In fact, the list of benefits of regular yoga practice is much longer. Clinical studies have shown that yoga strengthens the immune system, restores hormonal balance and is an excellent tool in the fight against stress. What more do you need to convince you to practice it?

Rollerblading

Roller skating engages 90% of the body’s muscles to work, which brings unheard-of health benefits. Roller skating actively works the lower part of the body: calves, thigh muscles and hips. In practice, such muscle work will increase your fitness and slenderize your body, sculpt your legs and buttocks. Roller skating comprehensively develops our health, puts us in a good mood, strengthens the musculoskeletal apparatus and the cardiovascular system. By rollerblading, you intensively oxygenate your body and burn calories, which, with a sedentary lifestyle, will be good for everyone!

Scooter

A scooter strengthens the muscles of your legs (especially if you don’t forget to change them), back, shoulders and spine. It’s also a great way to cover smaller and medium distances, avoid traffic jams and thus stress. The scooter doesn’t need a lot of storage space, let alone parking, and is fashionable, stylish and affordable. Finally, the scooter will instill in you the spirit of carefree and adventurous, which seems to have passed away irretrievably and remains in childhood.

Swimming

Swimming has long been recognized as an ideal type of sport: it provides the same benefits as aerobic training, while not stressing the joints. Swimming develops all the muscles of the body and increases bone mass. Regular water activities keep the body flexible and even reduce inflammation in the body. What else. Swimming is an excellent way to burn calories and increase lung capacity. It’s also a reliable way to reduce tension and fight depression. 

Tai-chi

Tai-chi is a traditional Chinese martial art that consists of fluid movements that resemble a slow dance. In addition to movement, an important part of the practice is breath control and concentration on body alignment and state of mind. All together, the class becomes something akin to meditation in motion. The workout is devoid of sudden, jerky movements and positions that put stress on the joints, which is why it is often recommended for the elderly, as well as for patients after injuries and in recovery.

main photo: unsplash.com/Joppe Spaa

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Tennis – how to choose the right racket?

How to choose a tennis racket? The number of parameters which characterize rackets can make your head spin. In this article you will learn 3 key parameters of tennis rackets.

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Are you starting your adventure with tennis and want to buy your first racket? Bear in mind that it must be properly selected for your level of advancement and style of play. In this article, you will learn how to choose a tennis racket correctly.

A tennis racket is a purchase which will last at least several years-sometimes several, so it is important to think carefully about the purchase and to match the racket to your level and style of play. When choosing a racket, you should know how to read its parameters. We will focus on this in the first part of this article.

The surface area and shape of the head

The surface area, or nothing more than the size of the racket head, and the shape of the racket head are very important when choosing a racket. The larger the racket head, the stronger the impact will be and therefore the player will have to put in less effort to get the ball through. In addition, a large head has a large part of its surface area in the center of the ball, the sweet spot, which is the best place to hit the ball.

With smaller heads, the impact force is lower and therefore the player will have to exert more force when hitting the ball. However, a small racquet head comes with the advantage that it provides more maneuverability and thus control over the ball. It also allows for more precision at impact. 

What size head should I choose?

For beginners, slightly larger heads with an area of at least 660 cm² / 102 in² are recommended.

For intermediate players, on the other hand, racquets with head sizes between 645 and 690 cm² / 100 – 107 in² will work well.

At the intermediate level, the choice of head size is often more personal, as there are no set rules. The most common head sizes for advanced players are from 645 cm² / 100 in² and smaller.

The length of the racquet

The second important parameter is the length of the racquet, which is measured from the base of the handle to the end of the head. The most common racquets on the market for adult players have a standard length of 68.58 cm / 27 inches. 

As the length of the racquet increases, the range of impact increases as well as the power of the impact is enhanced. This allows for better service and ball rotation. However, the longer the racquet, the more difficult it is to control the ball.

Racquets which are shorter than the standard length are usually designed for juniors. On the other hand, when choosing a racket for a child, his/her individual physical conditions will be important. Depending on the height and weight of the child, a different length of racket will be appropriate and this may not always be in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The weight of a tennis racket

A very important parameter when selecting a tennis racket is its weight. The higher it is, the more stable the frame is. On the other hand, with the weight of a racket, the difficulty of launching a swing increases, which is why the optimum choice is a racket which will not be too heavy for a given player and which will allow free handling of the frame.

We can usually find the following recommendations for weight:

  • beginners – lighter racquets, making it easier to lead the swing,
  • intermediate players – the recommended weight is 280-300 g,
  • advanced players – usually rackets exceeding 300 g, sometimes with the possibility of weighting the racket through lead strips attached to the frame.

These are three basic parameters you should pay attention to when choosing a tennis racket. Other factors should be consulted with a specialist.

main photo: unsplash.com/Chino Rocha

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When is the best time to exercise? Find out what is the best time to work out

Is there an optimal time to train? Are we able to maximize our athletic performance by exercising in the morning or evening? Find out what the science says!

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Some people get up early in the morning, often at inhuman hours, to start their day actively, while others treat training as the icing on the cake and the perfect end to the day

These two camps are rarely able to understand each other, which is why the question of what time is best for activity arises.

In the morning or in the evening? Is there an optimal workout time?

With our busy schedules, it’s hard to find time to exercise, so it’s worth noting at the outset that any physical activity, regardless of the time, undoubtedly has a beneficial effect on our bodies.

Between juggling a career, social life and additional obligations we sometimes find it difficult to squeeze in a workout, even if we know that it is necessary for our health and well-being. When time is scarce and we have set specific fitness goals, it would be good to know if there is any optimal time of the day that would contribute to achieving them as soon as possible. So let’s try to get to that.

Morning vs. evening

Both morning and evening exercise have both health benefits and potential pitfalls, but for most people, the right time to exercise doesn’t depend on how many calories we burn in cardio or how much we lift in strength training – it’s mostly about how we feel when we exercise and how exercise fits into our daily schedule.

Morning exercise

Logistically, the benefits of a morning workout are many. First, by the time we actually start a new day, we are already done. This means that we go into new challenges with endorphins and a good feeling, knowing that by 9am we have achieved something that some people don’t achieve all day.

What’s more, we get the workout out of the way and don’t have to worry about it in the evening. This realization alone is a huge relief, giving us time and space to cook dinner, socialize with friends or relax.

Research also supports the idea of morning exercise. A study published in Medicine and Science in Sports suggested that people who were active in the early hours were less likely to be distracted by unhealthy foods and maintained healthier habits throughout the day than those who did not exercise in the morning

Additional benefits of going to the gym in the morning include increased metabolism, which means calories are burned throughout the day, when we eat them, rather than at night when we sleep.

Evening exercise

While it certainly seems that the morning is the ideal time to exercise, fitting in a workout in the afternoon or evening has its proven benefits.

Planning an evening workout can mean we don’t have to get out of bed early in the morning, but there’s more! One Trusted Source study found that the body’s capacity for peak performance is between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. During this time, body temperature rises, optimizing muscle function and strength, enzyme activity and endurance for performance.

The Verdict

So, which hour is best? While the science and research seem contradictory, one thing is clear: exercise is important, no matter what time of day it is. What really matters is finding the right time of day that fits our individual schedule and that we can make part of our routine. By maintaining a consistent workout regime at the same time each day, you can achieve the greatest workout gains.

Main photo: Chander R/unsplash.com

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