Have you been feeling some hitherto unexperienced aches and pains after your run, bike ride, dance class or workout? If so, you might consider paying a little more attention to warming up correctly – or risk hurting your muscles.
Warming up properly increases blood flow and gets more oxygen and nutrients flowing to your muscles, thus helping to prepare them for the coming activity. The warm up should consist of light cardiovascular activity and stretching. The cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging or hopping on the spot, can help loosen your muscles as well as getting them ready for the stress of exercise. Some people walk at regular speeds on the treadmill to warm up. Stretching after warming up ensures that your joints, tendons and ligaments are all gradually prepared for your workout, and can also provide the body with a number of benefits which are highlighted below:
- Reduce muscle tension, helping your body feel more relaxed and prepared for workout.
- Improve your range of motion.
- Prevent strains because stretched muscles resist stress.
- Reduce the risk of back problems.
- Reduce muscular pain.
Learning to stretch
- Always warm your muscles with some light cardio before you start the stretching part of your warm-up. muscles do not stretch easily. Try walking, spot-hopping or jogging.
- It is advisable to not ‘bounce’ or jiggle the body while stretching, as it may cause injury.
- Hold the stretch to the point where you feel the muscle start to loosen, for about 20-30 seconds. Stop and repeat a few times for each of the muscle groups you plan to use.
- You may feel some discomfort when stretching. In fact, if you don't, you may not be stretching correctly. But stop if you feel severe pain. Once you have stretched the muscle correctly, the discomfort should disappear.
- Don't hold your breath when . Instead, try to maintain a regular breathing rhythm going all of the time. This helps to relax the body, increase the bloodflow, and remove the negative by-products of exercise.
Before and exercise
Remember, too much exertion without having warmed up adequately and stretched correctly can lead to pulled or torn muscles. It's amazing just how many different muscles groups can be involved when doing different activities, so make sure you stretch all of the muscles that you will be using.
It is also advisable to stretch after your activities. Doing so helps to reset your body to its natural position and posture as you ‘cool down’ from your exertions. This can be especially important for those muscles that have had the greatest use. If it helps, pull out a yoga mat and lie down with your eyes closed for a couple of minutes to relax the body post-exercise.
Dealing with aches and after exercise
Aches and pains that may result from your workout can be soothed away with , a hot bath or by simply resting. However, when muscles are strained, substances called prostaglandins can be released at the site of the strain, stimulating pain receptors and often leading to muscle . You can feel this as pain that causes rigidity at the site, slightly hampering your movement.
So, a good painkiller could bring you some relief quickly. Ibuprofen is the main active ingredient in Nurofen, which is available as an over the counter painkiller. This well-known medication has been scientifically established to act by inhibiting the formation of prostaglandins in (the chemicals in your body which cause pain) and help relieve pain. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, so it reduces the swelling that is often associated with muscle pain and soreness.
You can find out more about how Nurofen could help your aches and muscular pain . But don't forget, warming up and stretching may help you avoid muscle damage in the first place. So get yourself into a good routine both before and after all physical activities. Don't be in a hurry. Always give yourself enough time to warm up and cool down , and always make sure you give yourself a good stretch before embarking on any physical exercise.
All information presented is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health matters please contact your doctor. Nurofen contains ibuprofen. For pain relief. Always read the label.