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Stop Doing the Traditional Warm-Up, You Need Dynamic Stretching Instead

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Stop Doing the Traditional Warm-Up, You Need Dynamic Stretching Instead

The most important part of your workout begins with the warm-up. It gets your mind, body, and muscles ready to tackle the workout. When we were younger we learned in gym class the importance of stretching before activities, but maybe it isn’t intense enough. What if there were another way to stretch your muscles that targets the muscles you’re about to work out? I’m talking about dynamic stretching which is a more effective and systematic warm-up exercise. Keep reading to learn new techniques to intensify your warm-ups.

What Exactly Is Dynamic Stretching?

I’m glad you asked! In short, it’s “stretching as you are moving”. Some examples would be: high kicks, jump squats, jump lunges, and knee-to-chest. The type of stretching you’re probably used to doing is called static stretching. It requires little movement, such as reaching down to touch your toes.

How Is It Different from Traditional Warm-Up?

Simply put, it’s more effective than traditional stretching. When you’re engaging in static stretching you are loosening up your muscles, but it doesn’t necessarily get them ready for what you’re about to perform. It’s more laid back which can trick your mind into relaxation mode. This can make for a difficult transition from a period of rest mode to work mode. Dynamic stretching helps improve the range of motion around your joints, reducing the risk of injury during your workout. Over time your performance will improve as well as maximizing your movements due to increased flexibility of your joints.

How Can I Benefit from Dynamic Stretching?

What’s so great about it? I’ve already listed some differences above, but check out what I’m about to tell you below. You’ll be glad you did.

  • It’s a full body warm-up. It warms up your body even faster than a low-level aerobic activity such as a walk or run on the treadmill. It builds up intensity before the actual event and prepares the body for peak performance. When you engage in a dynamic warmup, it helps your body prepare itself for the demands you’re about to put it through.
  • It improves kinesthetic awareness. It prepares the body for all the different movements you’ll be doing. Dynamic stretching mimics the exercises you’ll perform during a workout to help your body prepare for those movements. Kinesthetic awareness is being able to understand where your body is in time and space. To give you an example, try touching the tips of your fingers together. Having this awareness is very important when working out or playing a sport.
  • You’ll be way more flexible! Flexibility is the range of motion in a joint. Dynamic stretching improves the range of motion of the joints which will help you to perform better and could reduce the risk of an injury.

6 Simple Dynamic Stretching You Can Try to Reap the Benefits

1. Lunge with a twist

    via The Exercist on Tumblr

    1. Stand with feet about shoulder width apart.

    2. Step forward with your left foot into a lunge position.

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    3. From your torso, twist your upper body to the left. Then, reach across your left side with your arms outstretched. (Think of pointing to the left from your belly button.)

    4. Maintain a slow, controlled movement throughout the exercise.

    5. Slowly move your arms to center and step forward with the opposite foot and twist to the other side.

    2. Side lunge touching heel

      via POPSUGAR

      1. Begin with the knees and hips slightly bent, feet hip-width apart, and the head and chest up.

      2. Staying low, take a slow, lateral step to the right. Keep your toes pointed forward and stay low. Extend the left knee, driving your weight to the right, flexing the knee and hip into a side lunge.

      3. As you lower yourself, reach across with your left hand to touch your right heel or ankle. Maintain good posture through the entire spine, keeping your head and chest up.

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      4. Pause at the bottom of the motion, and then extend through the working leg to return to a standing position, transitioning into a lunge to the opposite side.

      3. Arm circles

        via Womanista

        1. Stand up and extend your arms straight out to the sides. The arms should be parallel to the floor and perpendicular (90-degree angle) to your torso. This will be your starting position.

        2. Slowly start to make circles of about 1 foot in diameter with each outstretched arm. Breathe normally as you perform the movement.

        3. Continue the circular motion of the outstretched arms for about ten seconds. Then reverse the movement, going the opposite direction.

        4. Hip stretch with a twist

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          via Greatist

          1. Start in the push-up position with your back flat and hands and toes squarely on the ground.

          2. Bring one knee forward so that your foot is flat on the ground just behind the plane of your hands.

          5. High kicks

            via Runwell.com

            1. Reach your right arm straight out in front of you, parallel with the ground. Your hand should be flat with your palm facing the ground.

            2. Step forward to put your weight on your left foot and kick your right foot up towards your hand with your toes flexed. You should work towards touching your toes to your palm.

            3. Repeat, alternating legs.

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            6. Jump squats

              via POPSUGAR

              1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

              2. Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively.

              3. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible which requires control.

              4. Do two or three sets of 10 reps.

              The warm-up is the most important part of a workout to prepare mentally and physically. Dynamic stretching is an effective way to stretch muscles because it targets the muscles you’re about to work out, making it a more effective and systematic warm-up. Try these new techniques to intensify your warm-ups!

              Featured photo credit: Conscious Design via unsplash.com

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              Erica Wagner

              Erica is a passionate writer who shares inspiring ideas and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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              Last Updated on January 26, 2022

              Best Fitness Trackers to Get in 2022 To Stay on Top of Your Health

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              Best Fitness Trackers to Get in 2022 To Stay on Top of Your Health

              Years ago, when I started my wellness journey and looked for the best fitness trackers, I was familiar with a few wearable step counters, aka the pedometer, Fitbit, Polar, and more recently, the Apple Watch. These wireless wearable “bracelets” offer high-tech fitness and health metrics at the press of a button.

              I didn’t realize how many tracker brands there were, and I felt as overwhelmed as when I walked down the cereal aisle.

              How do you decide which fitness tracker is right for you with so many to review? Below, I will share my experience and research to remove the confusion and overwhelm, and I hope it helps you decide.

              It was also fun to discover that step counting originated in the early 1700s by a Horologist and inventor Abraham-Louis Perrelet. It was later suggested that Tomas Jefferson created the first mechanical pedometer.[1]

              Fitness trackers—or wearable health devices as we know them today—later surfaced in 1965 by Dr. Yoshiro Hatano, a Japanese professor at the Kyushu University of Health and Welfare. His research offered a method to combat obesity and created the Mankoe-Kei pedometer, translated to “10,000 step meter.”

              Fitness trackers and, more recently, smartwatches have come a long way. With multiple styles, features, and price ranges to select, it can be challenging to find the best choice. With so many options to choose from, which one is the best? And how do you decide?

              Let’s briefly look at some of the most popular brands and the similarities and differences between a fitness tracker and a smartwatch. Let’s also look at the pros and cons of wearable trackers to see if they develop or hinder motivation.

              Fitness Trackers vs. Smartwatches

              There is quite a bit of overlap between the two, but the fitness tracker is the way to go if you want to keep things simple and focus solely on your fitness and daily activity. Both also offer an app experience to review several health statistics.

              However, the smartwatch takes it up a notch by sending notifications and updates from your phone to your wrist. If you are looking for a detailed tech analysis, I will link the website to the brand.

              Suppose simplicity and interest in reviewing the below top health metrics are the primary reasons for choosing a fitness tracker. In this case, selecting a wearable step counter and affordable fitness wristband is the way to go—no need to get caught up in data analysis paralysis.

              • Tell time
              • Step counter
              • Calories burned
              • Heart rate

              If you are interested in additional advanced features, want to receive a detailed analysis of all the following health metrics, and need your wearable to track more than just your health, a smartwatch would be the way to go.

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              • Breathing rate
              • Resting variability
              • Skin temperature
              • Oxygen saturation
              • Movement notification
              • Female health tracking
              • Sleep monitor
              • GPS tracker
              • Receive calls, texts, and emails
              • Workable apps such as mobile payments and music storage

              So, how do you choose the brand? It all depends on personal preference, ease of use, style, and how many details of your health and fitness data you would like to analyze.

              Bear in mind, there may be various products within each brand, each offering something a little different based on when it hit the market. Here are some of the best fitness trackers and smartwatches in the market.

              The best thing about these wearables is that they all track your health and fitness from super simple to more advanced. Let’s compare a few statistics to see how each stack up against their competitor.

              1. Fitbit

                Price Range: $80 to $200

                Battery length between charges: up to 6 days

                Launched in 2007, Fitbit offers nine different models and 21 products to choose from, offering everything from a simple clip-on pedometer to fitness wristbands to the latest in the high-tech smartwatch. Easy to set up, sync to the app, and use immediately, each watch can meet the needs of basic use to high-tech statistical analysis.

                2. Apple Watch

                  Price Range: $199 to $429

                  Limited battery life between charges – charge every two days

                  The Apple Watch is a multifunctional wellness tracker and phone on your wrist. Launched in 2015, Apple Watch offers two models with a slue of tech specs that change yearly.

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                  Prices are steep. It takes time to navigate with all the bells and whistles, but this watch has many unique features that most brands don’t offer. If you are a multi-tasker and are looking for a watch that could almost cook you dinner, this would be the one.

                  3. Samsung Galaxy

                    Prices Range: $60 to $350

                    Battery life between charges – 2.5 to 4 days

                    In 2014, Samsung introduced its first fitness wristband designed to be just an activity tracker, then later the smartwatch. With two models to select from (each having yearly updates), this brand offers all the above specs.

                    One thing sets it apart from the rest: Samsung is the first smartwatch to measure body composition, namely Weight, Skeletal Muscle, Body Fat Mass, BMI (Body Mass Index), Water, and BMR (Basel Metabolic Rate).

                    4. Polar

                      Price Range: $90 to $500

                      Battery life between charges – up to 4 days

                      Polar is not just a fitness tracker but also a sports science and technology on your wrist. Polar offers heart rate monitoring, fitness tracking, and GPS sports tracking.

                      This watch is great for athletes looking to improve athletic performance and exercise enthusiasts looking to improve their overall health. They are the leaders in heart rate monitoring and offer proprietary Smart Coaching technology. This technology turns your training data into personalized, actionable training guidance.

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                      5. Timex

                        Price Range: $45 to $180

                        Extended Battery life – 12 to 14 days

                        Timex, the foundation builder for smartwatches, began in 1994 with a watch made for space flight for NASA. Timex has everything, from the basics of calorie counting, stopwatch, step counting, and distance traveled to ironman smartwatch capabilities with GPS tracking.

                        If you are a runner, cyclist, or swimmer and are just interested in the basics, this one is for you. With a durable design (Aluminum Alloy Case and Gorilla Glass™), these watches were designed to last forever.

                        It is also one of the most stylish fitness watches and has the most affordable smartwatch on the market, coming in at only $180 compared to other popular brands. Expect this watch to cover all your health metrics and offer a great battery life in between charges.

                        6. Garmin

                          Price Range: $149 to $1,149

                          Battery life in between charges – between 5 to 50 days (Yes, you read that correctly.)

                          Garmin Smartwatch, founded in 2014, doubles as the leader in GPS wearable tracking devices and high-performing athletic data tracking watches on the market. It is one of the best brands with a fantastic battery life with the Garmin Enduro (made for endurance athletes and ultra-marathon runners), clocking in at 50 days.

                          If you aren’t the athletic type and want to stay off the grid and use it to track your activity, Garmin is also an excellent choice. But be sure to know what you want before investing because Garmins price point can be pretty steep due to the premium material in its design.

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                          There are two products on the market worth mentioning that focus on how your body is functioning, so you are well-rested and ready to go for your next workout. We focused on multifunction health and fitness devices around fitness and wellness specifics. But what about recovery? Meet Oura Ring and Whoop.

                          7. WHOOP Fitness and Health Membership

                            Price Range: monthly membership is $30 (additional premium upgrades)

                            Battery life in between charges – 4 to 5 days

                            WHOOP, founded in 2011, is a fitness and recovery tracking all in one. It monitors your sleep, recovery, and daily effort 24/7, then delivers in-depth feedback on how you can optimize your performance.

                            If knowing when to push harder or rest is vital to improving your performance, this tracker is a sure winner. Join as a member, and you will receive the latest WHOOP wearable for free—every time another generation is released.

                            8. The Oura Ring

                              Price: $200

                              Battery life in between charges: 4 to 7 days

                              The Oura Ring, founded in 2013, is focused on sleep quality and recovery, so it will not track your fitness or daily activity. Features include tracking your motion, heart rate, and temperature to tell you how well you are sleeping and recovering your body.

                              Final Thoughts

                              The purpose of health and wellness trackers is to create awareness around increasing one’s daily activity level and provide a valuable tool for tracking important health and non-health-related statistics. Make a list of the essential features you will consistently keep track of and interest you, and perhaps that will ease the pain when choosing which best fitness tracker to use.

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                              Which one you choose is entirely up to you, and you can spend months researching over every spec. The most important thing is that you don’t get caught up in the minute details and keep moving.

                              Featured photo credit: dusan jovic via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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