10 Reasons Why You Need A Proper Warm-Up
Warming up before physical exercise has a number of benefits, but mainly its purpose is to prepare the body and mind for strenuous activity. Too many people skip this vital part of a workout and jump straight into running, swimming or cycling. This is why we bring to you 10 reasons why warming up is a necessity:
This all comes down to blood-flow. If you’re body isn’t getting enough blood to your working muscles, then there will be a shortage of oxygen as well, causing fatigue. During a warm-up, you can ensure enough blood-flow is getting around the body and increase muscle temperature, which allows faster muscle contraction and relaxation.
When a muscle hasn’t been used throughout the day, like sitting at a desk for example, it gets cold and tightens up. This causes your range of motion and flexibility to decrease, making you vulnerable to muscle tears. Major muscle tears can put you out of action for days, weeks, or even months at a time, so why take the risk?
DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) normally come into effect 48-72 hours after a workout, which is why you may feel fine afterwards, but struggle to get out of bed the next day. While DOMS is uncomfortable, it’s also a good sign that you’re training hard. However, it can decrease athletic performance and affect your ability to train for the next couple of days.
If you play for a sports team, you’ll know how important it is to get focused mentally before a big match. Going through a thorough warm-up gives you some time to compose yourself. Even if you’re just a regular gym-goer, warming up helps shake you from work mode into workout mode.
Lactic acid is that burning sensation you get in your muscles after a high intensity workout. Have you noticed during a workout that the first couple of minutes are the worst, but then it gets easier as it continues?
This is more relevant to steady cardio workouts, but it happens because your body hasn’t adjusted to the initial amount of lactic acid being created. Avoid this scenario by going through a proper warm-up so you’re physically ready when it matters.
Warming up helps lubricate joints such as the knees prior to exercise. Better movement equals better performance and less chance of injury. In addition, if you already suffer from an ongoing joint pain, it can help relieve the tenderness before working out.
Preparing your heart for increased activity prevents rapid increases in blood pressure which could lead you to become over-fatigued or, even worse, cause heart-attack or stroke. The gradual increase of oxygen from the heart to the muscles stops the body becoming tired easily.
You may not have known this, but warming up makes you feel cooler while you’re working out. This is because during a warm-up you start to sweat, so when that begins to evaporate, you start to cool off. If you don’t warm up this process will take longer and you’ll feel hotter during your workout.
Releasing these hormones prior to exercise is vital in turning your body into a calorie-burning machine. Not only will your workout become effective, but you’ll also feel less tired and have more stamina because your body won’t have to work as hard to find fuel to burn.
We know this is slightly off topic but it’s important that we bring this up. Despite warming up and stretching often being lumped together under an umbrella term, they are two very different principles. During a warm-up, you’re increasing body temperature and preparing for what is to come. Stretching on the other hand, is focusing directly on stretching a particular muscle.
Remember a good workout combines the two – start with a solid warm-up, followed by a period of stretching and then into the physical activity, before finishing it off with a short cool down. If you follow this correctly, you’ll significantly decrease your chances of injury and increase your workout enjoyment.
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About Matt Lawson Matt Lawson is a UK based sports journalist who covers all the latest football (soccer) news and matches for the Press Association. A keen Newcastle United fan, Matt is usually found either watching or playing the beautiful game.