What if you couldn’t wait to warm-up for your workout?
That’s how I feel sometimes. We know we should warm-up because of the need for physical preparation benefits in terms of prepping the nervous system and bringing the warmth of blood to muscles. But…there’s so much more we can do with a warm-up.
We can use multiple senses including smell to warm-up. Additionally, we can shift emotional states toward playfulness and fun and mental states toward engagement and focus.
This multi-sensory, multi-factorial approach to warming-up will make it more enjoyable and will help you shift mentally away from whatever awaits you in the rest of your day. It helps you leave all that STUFF behind and draws you more fully into the movement experience you are about to have.
It’s like parachuting into a world of movement, challenge, and engagement and leaving everything else behind because you have focused your mind, muscles, and mood on the experience you are about to have.
Here are a couple of ways I regularly achieve this:
Be an Animal
My home gym space also happens to be the space I use to run around and wrestle with my chihuahua. He lets me role play as one of his canine wrestle buddies. Sometimes when I descend the stairs to start my workouts, he’s in the mood to tussle and will follow me down and it becomes part of my warm-up.
It’s loads of fun and can be physically challenging enough to be a good warm-up. With a small dog, I have to get down low and crawl around so it’s a good upper-body and core warm-up. But it’s also much more than that.
It puts me in a more open, hopeful, and spirited emotional state as some of the “play with abandon” disposition that our pets often have transfers to me while we play. He is not focused on anything else but the play and wrestling in that moment. He’s not distracted thinking about the errands he needs to do, the deadline he is facing, or anything else. He is fully participating in that present moment.
And this helps me do the same thing. Being a human is hard at times and we have about 8 different #1 priorities competing for our headspace.
The Scent of Your Fire
I often use an aromatherapy room spray to set the tone for the workout. (Admittedly, figuring out how to do this is immeasurably easier when you are married to a certified aromatherapist.) You can put a few drops of any stimulating oil you find enjoyable into a spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Shake well right before you spray your workout room a few times (assuming you’re not in a public gym or studio). You can use any stimulating oil you enjoy like Rosemary, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Orange, Geranium, etc.
(The one I have been using most recently is in the photo and it is available from Your Body Needs. The formulations they make change monthly so they are not typically listed for sale on the website but you can place an order for a room spray by contacting the studio by phone and placing an order. Contact info: www.YourBodyNeeds.com)
Over time, my brain has learned to associate the scent of the oils I use in my room spray with “It’s ‘go’ time.” It’s another way to trigger a shift in focus and attention toward your workout time. This is such a simple little secret weapon in pursuit of a better warm-up.