Warming up before an exercise is as vital as the exercise itself.
Warming up will help you exercise for longer periods of time, resulting in a better fitness form, and stronger muscles.
It also has other significant benefits such as reducing the risk of injury, increasing heart rate, decreasing the aches and pains you feel while exercising, and mentally preparing you for your workout.
This article highlights what is warm up and the benefits of warming up and will help you understand why a short, but effective warm-up can have significant effects on your health, exercising routine, and fitness.
What Does It Mean to Warm up?
To understand what a warm-up is, think of it as a small exercise session with light cardiovascular exercises to help prepare you for the intense physical activity that is to come ahead.
While the session only consists of light exercises, dynamic moves, and stretches, its importance cannot be undermined. It will help prepare you physically as well as mentally for the intense activities that will follow.
While a session lasts anywhere from 5 minutes to 10 minutes, you get to enjoy significant benefits such as a reduction in the chances of injury.
Why Is Warming up Important?
The importance of warming up can be best understood by thinking of your body as a car. When your car has not been in use for a while, its temperature meter shows it is cold.
So, when you start driving, you first let your car warm up a little before you take it to higher speeds. The same is the case with your body.
Since your muscles have not been in use for a while, you must first prepare the muscles before taking part in a strenuous workout.
The warm-up increases the body temperature, blood circulation, and heart rate, thus loosening the joints and increasing the blood flow; preparing it for the exercises that are to follow.
Plus, it also plays a crucial role in preventing injuries.
Benefits of warming up
Following are just some benefits of warming up:
1. Prepares The Cardiovascular and Nervous Systems
By warming up, you prepare your cardiovascular system for the stimulation of heavy exercise. Consequently, your heart starts to work on pumping blood at a much faster rate.
With a warm-up prior to your workout, your cardiovascular is gently prepared to meet the greater demand for oxygen, thus preventing a quick rise in blood pressure.
Moreover, your brain and body must work together so that you enjoy a safe yet effective workout session which is exactly what a warm-up does. It informs both the body and brain to get ready for explosive activities.
Again, think of your body as a car. Just like you need to oil a squeaking wheel, you need to prepare your muscles, tensions, and ligaments too and that can be done with an increase in blood circulation.
Thus, different parts of your physiology get a chance to work together.
2. Helps Prepare for Exercise Mentally
After a stressful day, you need to clear your mind before you can get on with your workout. Otherwise, you will just notice a drop in your performance because of the ability of stress to distract and slow you down.
Similarly, with other things on your mind, concentrating on the task at hand becomes difficult too; resulting in sloppy movements and increased chances of injury.
A warm-up; however, helps your mind to focus more on the exercise session that is to come instead of the day’s stress so that you can benefit from your gym session.
Thus, your mind is eased into a workout and enables you to endure even the toughest part of your exercise regimen.
3. Helps Improve Performance
It is a fact that with slightly higher body temperature, your body performs significantly better and this is facilitated by a warm-up session.
Taking part in one, particularly early morning, raises the body temperature, thus improving your performance.
In fact, according to health experts, your body is more efficient at burning calories when it is at a higher temperature.
4. Improves Muscle Flexibility
As mentioned earlier, warm-up improves the circulation of blood through your body, which means that your tissues get an increased movement of blood.
Consequently, your tissues become more flexible and in turn, less susceptible to tears or strains.
Moreover, oxygen and nutrients are delivered to all the working muscles, enabling them to perform their best.
5. Quicker Reaction Times
With your nervous system ready for exercise, it communicates with your muscles better. In turn, this results in improved reaction times as well as increased agility in movements.
6. You Don’t Tire out Too Quickly
Once the levels of lactic acid are quite high in the build, your body gets tired and gives up completely. Without a warm-up, this buildup of lactic acid is even quicker, making the workout seem too tough to complete.
However, with a short warming up session, the energy system adjusts to the increased demand, and the buildup of lactic takes place slowly. This way, you get to work out for a longer period of time.
7. Helps to Protect Joints
With a warm-up session, the range of motion in your shoulders, ankles, hips, and knees improves.
With immobile joints, you don’t move too efficiently which reduces power and slows you down; making you more vulnerable to an injury.
Similarly, exercises done as part of a warm-up contribute to core preparation which in turn prevents injury and gives you control of your movements.
8. Helps to Motivate You
In some cases, a warm-up session can motivate you to hit the gym when all you want to do is laze around the house.
Instead of trying to talking yourself out of going to the gym, try taking part in a short ten-minute warm-up session. If you still don’t feel like exercising, you can go home.
However, the chances are that after your short session, you will be willing to exercise!
As proven by the benefits stated above, it is best to warm up your muscles before stretching when preparing to exercise.
In conclusion, the purpose of a warm up is to significantly affect and improve your performance, skill, technique, and coordination during your workout sessions.
There are different warm-up techniques and exercises, and you should choose them according to your workout or exercise.