When you really need to get your body moving, it’s tempting to dive right into a workout. But that hastiness may be dangerous for your body. San Jose CrossFit instructor DJ Downs says that warming up is the best way to avoid injury when exercising. The American Heart Association agrees with Downs, saying that “slowly raising your heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart.” Downs, who works at ThirdSpace Fitness and CrossFit, wants his clients to be 100% ready for his CrossFit classes, and that goes beyond learning the meaning of terms such as Fran and WOD. To keep all systems calm and operating smoothly, we asked Downs for some focused tips on how he approaches CrossFit and other workouts. Keep Your Warm-Ups Dynamic“It is advisable to avoid long, slow static stretches before a workout,” Downs said. “We at ThirdSpace like dynamic warm-ups.” Here are some of his recommendations: Inchworms: Stand with your feet close together. Then bend down, and put both hands on the floor in front of you. Walk your hands forward, switching between left and right with each “step.” Once you arrive at a pushup position, walk each foot forward until both reach the hands.Lunges: Lunge forward on alternating legs, and twist your torso as you perform the exercise.Planks: Act like you’re about to do a pushup, then bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle directly beneath your shoulders. Make sure your body forms a straight line, and hold as long as you can.Roll Around Afterward“Cooling down provides time to care for those muscles and assess any potential injuries,” Downs said. For a post-workout routine, he recommends using a foam roller. “In addition to softening the muscles, releasing trigger points, and increasing range of motion, foam rolling has been shown to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) levels after workouts.” Set Goals The most important thing an exerciser can do is set and review their workout goals. Downs said. “You will always get more out of a workout, and make the time you are here more meaningful, if you take some time to figure out what you are trying to accomplish and spend a few minutes to analyze your progress and performance.” Setting some goals helps you push through fitness plateaus and identify any and all areas in need of improvement. There’s Strength in NumbersWhen it comes to exercise, Downs suggests newbies look to group instruction. “Group training offers motivation, quality instruction, and accountability,” he said. In addition to CrossFit, consider classes such as yoga or Pilates. Where to Sweat It OutHere’s a short roundup of gyms in San Jose where you can find CrossFit and other group classes: ThirdSpace Fitness | 550 S. 1st St.Morgan Hill CrossFit | 17680 Butterfield Blvd., Morgan HillCrossFit Almaden | 1029 Blossom Hill Rd.CrossFit Los Gatos | 285 E. Main St., Los Gatos
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