Why must we warm up before exercise?
So why is warming up before exercise important?
Life can be so busy these days, that we often don’t prioritise exercise into our daily routine. Nevertheless, when we do get around to doing some physical activity, a lot of us don’t even consider a proper warm-up before getting into an activity.
Firstly what is a warm-up?
A warm-up is a session, which takes place prior to doing physical activity; usually, a warm-up will consist of light cardiovascular exercises combined with stretches.
How many of us can say we consistently do this before getting into our exercise regime? And what is the whole point you may be asking yourself?
Effects of the warm-up
The warm-up should gently prepare the body for exercises by gradually increasing the heart rate and circulation; this will loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles.
In addition to this, a warm-up also achieves:
- Increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. This prevents you from getting out of breath early or too easily
- Prepares your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise
- Prepares you mentally for the upcoming exercise
- Improves coordination and reaction times
Improves range of motion when performing movements
Above all else, a thorough warm-up before exercise is vital for injury prevention!
Keeping the muscles warm will prevent acute injuries such as hamstring strains and will help avoid overuse injuries by allowing the body to prepare steadily and safely. Many studies have compared groups of athletes, exposing a decreased risk of injury when a warm-up was performed prior to the performance.