Written by: Brian Kenney, General Manager @ O2 Fitness Wilmington
Many people are not quite sure exactly why they do warm-ups prior to exercising. Although, they continue to do this they are only doing it because someone has told them to do so. While it is important to warm-up before exercising for a number of safety reasons, there are other benefits as well.
Why Warm Up Before Working Out?
Warm-ups help to reduce friction to joints and help to extend muscles. Doing this also helps to avoid injury and also discomfort and muscle soreness. If you push yourself too hard, you will still suffer from discomfort the next day. Warm-ups are not your free pass from exercise discomfort! It helps in reducing the chances of strains while helping your body adjust to the demands from your exercise. As you exercise your internal temperature will rise. If you do warm-ups prior to exercising your body will slowly raise in temperature as opposed to rising at an elevated rate, which can cause dizziness and possibly fainting.
For the fullest most beneficial workout it is vital to warm-up prior to your workout. Warm-ups are done to ease your body into the exercise routine. Thus, you are warming up your body. This is very similar to cooking in an oven. Using the analogy of warming up the oven before baking a cake, the same mindset applies to workouts: Warm up your muscles before working out. Gradually increasing your body temperature will give your muscles the chance to slowly dilate and increase blood flow through them with minimal if any discomfort the following day. Warm-ups help to up your metabolic rate and your heart rate, while benefiting your respiratory system's ability and our body is able to better adjust to the workout you are preparing for. Joints will have reduced friction and this helps to lessen chances of sprains for demanding exercise.
O2 Fitness Tip: Take Care of Your Muscles!
The most crucial thing to note is that you should take good care of your muscles and joints as well as your cardiovascular system. This way, you can be sure that you will hit your peak performance with less risk of injury or strains. Warm-ups should not be fast and furious. They are done in order to slowly prepare your body for a more vigorous workout. A session lasting approximately 10-15 minutes is adequate. Begin with some stretches of the muscles that you will be using. If running is the preferred exercise, begin by walking before upping it to a jog before you run.
A demanding exercise routine should be eased into. If you are playing a sport with the aim of burning calories, you can choose to do the same activity as a warm-up, only at a much lower intensity. For example, when playing tennis you know you be swinging your arms quickly while you are running. A warm-up activity for such exercises can include stretches for your limbs, back and shoulders. Move around and swing your limbs, pretending that you are into the game. This will help to lubricate the joints in your shoulders and prevent unnecessary injuries to yourself. By doing this, you will see that your flexibility has improved and the range of actions is wider.