How to Prepare Your Muscles for Physical Activity

Preparing your muscles before exercising is essential because it ensures good performance and, above all, minimizes your risk of injury. In this article, we'll tell you all you need to know to best prepare your muscles for physical activity.
How to Prepare Your Muscles for Physical Activity

Last update: 30 October, 2019

Before doing any sort of work out, it’s essential that you prepare your muscles for physical activity. Among other things, this will allow you to give your best performance and prevent injuries that could cause you to have to take a break from exercise.

Of course, physical activity helps you stay in a healthy weight range and improves your strength and physical condition, in addition to having positive psychological effects. People who enjoy regular exercise tend to live happier lives and are less anxious than those who don’t get any exercise.

However, if you want to take full advantage of your efforts to exercise and prevent injury, it’s fundamental to prepare your muscles adequately for exercise. This implies proper hydration and nutrition in addition to doing a complete warm-up and stretching session.

Below, we will explain how to prepare your muscles for physical activity, so take note!

How to prepare your muscles for physical activity

1. Proper hydration

Proper hydration is essential for practicing any kind of physical activity or sport. It’s really easy to get dehydrated during a workout and therefore, it’s just as important to drink fluids before working out as it is to drink fluids after you’ve finished exercising.

Dehydration can decrease your blood pressure and heart rate, which will make you feel unwell. Drinking water is essential for maintaining the equilibrium of your body and replacing the fluids you’re losing through sweat.

For this reason, it’s recommended that you drink enough liquids before and after every workout session. This will minimize dehydration and help replace electrolytes lost through sweat. In any case, the perfect amount of liquids to drink depends on the duration and intensity of your workout.

Woman drinking out of water bottle hydration prepare your muscles for exercise

2. Nutrition

The second thing you should know is that in order to obtain the maximum benefits from exercise, your muscles need the energy to keep going. In other words, you need to maintain a healthy and balanced diet to maximize the energy available.

The perfect time to eat is one to three hours before exercising. This will give your digestive system enough time to digest the food and convert it into the energy you will use during your workout.

Additionally, your hormone levels can alter a bit after you eat, which can affect your ability to exercise. These hormone levels general balance out one hour after a meal. Remember that if you don’t eat enough, exercising could cause damage to your muscles and bones.

3. A proper warm-up

Warming up is extremely important to prepare your muscles for physical activity. As you can tell from the name, it allows the muscles to warm up. That way, you reduce the risk of injuring yourself during your workout.

Warm-ups consist of 5 to 10-minute low-intensity exercises. You should do these exercises right before you start your workout.

At the same, keep in mind that the warm-up doesn’t need to be the same type of exercise as your main workout. For example, if you’re going to swim, your warm-up could be jogging or jumping rope for 5 minutes.

For a competition, warm-ups are also used to mentally prepare athletes for a race or match.

4. Stretching

Many people forget to stretch before and after working out. However, this is one of the central points of the workout routine. Stretching allows your body to prepare for the exercise and your muscles to warm up properly.

Similarly, stretching again after your workout or sport helps your body recover faster and get more flexible. This way, you’ll also prevent the muscles from staying contracted and tense. As a result, you will avoid knots and contractures in your muscles.

In any case, stretching before physical activity is an excellent way to prepare your muscles for exercise. It prepares your body for the extreme physical demands of exercise or competition. Additionally, it’s very good for reducing the risk of injury and increasing endurance and the effectiveness of your workout.

Woman next to river stretching lunges prepare your muscles

Don’t forget that stretching and warming up are two very different things. The first concept refers to stretching the muscles, which prevents injury and tension. On the other hand, the second concept literally means to heat up the body in terms of temperature and activity level.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning once again that physical activity is very good for your health. However, it’s of vital importance that you remember that you must keep these basic principles in mind in order to maximize your performance and effectiveness and prevent injury.

At the same time, it’s equally important to choose a physical activity that you enjoy and that motivates you. It should be appropriate for your current physical condition and you need to be able to practice it safely. Get prepared and get moving!

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