What is Warming Up and Why You Should Do It
One of the most vital parts of exercise is the warm up. Warming up is the act of preparing you muscles and body in general for an athletic event or workout by exercising or stretching for a short time before the real exercise begins. Warming up helps reduce your risk of injury and the aches and pains that come with the main routine of exercise.
There are also physiological reasons as to why you should warm up, which are to assist your circulatory system in pumping oxygen-rich blood to your working muscles. The concept is that in increasing circulation throughout the body in a gradual manner, through a proper warm up will safely prepare your body for the increased demands of exercise. Many people are unaware but cold muscles do not absorb shock or impact as well, and are more susceptible to injury.
A warm-up will help you prepare both mentally and physically for the exercise you are about to undertake and will reduce the chance of an injury occurring.
There are also many other benefits of a proper warm up, which include:
- Increased movement of blood through your tissues, making the muscles more pliable.
- Increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. This prevents you from getting out of breath early or too easily.
- Prepares your heart for an increase in activity, preventing a rapid increase in blood pressure
- Prepares you mentally for the upcoming exercise
- Prepares your muscles for stretching
- Primes your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise
- Improved coordination and reaction times
How to Warm Up
To warm up the most typical way of warming up for the sport is to gradually increase the intensity of your specific sport. This uses the specific skills and muscle groups of the sport and is sometimes called a related warm-up. For runners, the idea is to jog a while and add a few sprints into the routine to engage all the muscle fibers.
Another method to warming up is to add movements not related to your sport in a slow steady manner: calisthenics or flexibility exercises for example, other examples include stretches and bends.