Sports Medicine

Preparing the Body for Exercise is Important at Any Age | Hydration & Nutrition

If you are younger, you may think that your body is very limber and is quickly able to adapt and thus you can jump straight into exercise with no sequela. Likewise, if you are on the other end of the spectrum, you may think that the type of exercise you do is so low impact, that you will do no harm by getting right into it. However, it is important to prepare the body for exercise at any age. Preparing for exercise requires a minimum of these three things: hydration and nutrition, warming up and proper clothing.

Hydration & Nutrition

It is vital to hydrate and eat well prior to exercising. It is important to remember that you will lose both nutrients and water during activity. Plain water is essential for maintaining our body's water balance and for replacing what is lost during exercise. Sports drinks, protein shakes and smoothies are all advertised as a great way to replenish your nutrients after exercise, however, these usually only playa role in high intensity exercise. It is wise to consult a doctor, nutritionist or trainer prior to high intensity exercise to determine what is best for your body and activity level before and after exercise.

Warming Up

Warming up before exercising allows your muscles and heart to prepare for activity. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of activity per week for the average adult. That comes down to about 30 minutes a day for 5 days. Of that 30 minutes, about 5-10 should be spent warming up. A warm up is a low-intensity activity to prep your body for a higher level of activity. Low intensity exercise can include swimming, jumping rope, walking, jogging, or really anything you enjoy! After a short warm up, you will want to stretch your muscles as well. Be sure to target all muscle groups including the extensors, flexors, power muscles, and stabilization muscles. Stretching should always be done after a warm up to avoid injury.