Before exercising, we all know that we should warm up first — but do you know why? A warm-up, even a short one, gets your blood pumping and better prepares your body to move. It also helps your muscles respond better to exercise, and reduces the risk of injuries. It literally ‘warms up’ your muscles, which improves their elasticity, giving you more speed and strength in your game. When it comes to pickleball (or any sport, for that matter) who wouldn’t want that? Here are a few, quick warm-up activities to get your body up and running efficiently.
Loosen up joints and muscles
Walk around the courts a bit. Do a few gentle twists at your waist, letting your arms swing. From your wrists, move your hands in circles five or six times in both directions. Then move your arms in a slow, circular motion five or six times, from smaller circles to larger ones. Do this both ways. Follow suit with ankle rotations, five or six times, both directions. Since you are standing on one foot, be sure to hold on to a bar or a sturdy chair, so you don’t lose your balance.
Reach your hands to the sky so that your whole body feels like it’s stretching. Gently bend to your left side, then straighten up and reach for the sky again. Repeat on the right side. It doesn’t feel like much, but this exercise if good for warming up the sides of your obliques. Repeat these stretches a few times then place your hands on your hips. Round your back (like a cat) then straighten up and push your shoulders back. Repeat a few times, as this helps to stretch your core and spine. Finally, lower your hands to your feet and try to touch your toes. Slowly rise back up to a standing position, then repeat reaching for your toes. Each time you should find yourself able to go just a little bit farther.
Walk and jog
Do a fast walk or a slow jog around the courts for about 4-5 minutes. This helps to increase your heart rate and prepare your body for more vigorous exercise. Where it’s safe to do so, try walking backward. Not only is it a good warm-up, it’s and excellent way to practice backing up to hit a lob.
Dink and volley
Find a partner and an empty court and do some quick dinks. Start across from one another, then work your way to opposite ends of the court, dinking the whole time. Move into volleying and try to use different serves during this last warm-up exercise.
You are now warmed up and ready to take on your pickleball opponents. Your blood is pumping, your muscles are loosened up, your ligaments are limber, and your reflexes are ready. Go out and have fun! That’s what life is about, right? Especially when you live here at Soleil. Learn more about our fun-loving, active-adult lifestyle — or better yet, plan to visit us today.