Both warming up before a workout and cooling down after, are integral components of an exercise program – but often, pre and post-workout routines are overlooked!
Many people prioritize time and efficiency, and tend to omit a warm-up and cool down from their daily routine. Warm ups and cool downs are associated with many benefits to your overall performance and recovery. The main benefit of warming up before exercise is for injury prevention by lubricating the muscles and joints. Pumping blood into the muscles lowers the chance of pulling a muscle and injuring a joint. These are just a few of the many benefits associated with adding in those extra minutes of warm-up and cool down to your training program. Read on to learn more about the importance of your bodily processes during warm-up relative to your fitness goals and performance.
** Stay tuned for next week to learn about the benefits of a cool-down routine!
What does Warming-Up Do to Your Body?
1. Increasing Blood Flow
Increasing blood flow to your muscles subsequently results in increased delivery of oxygenated blood to tissues and the removal of carbon dioxide. When this occurs, your central nervous system is activated and blood circulation is enhanced, allowing for higher volumes of nutrients delivered to your muscles.
Why this is important: this reduces the tension that physical activity has on your heart (more blood flows to your body) as well as better muscle functioning
2. Increases Muscle Temperature
Increasing temperature results in a separation of oxygen from hemoglobin in the blood. This in turn generates faster and more efficient cellular processes and metabolic reactions.
Why this is important: warm muscles= increase in strength and speed of the body as well as injury prevention.
3. Increases Flexibility
Increased flexibility also propagates better range of motion. Increasing flexibility and range of motion facilitates the connection between the brain and relevant motor patterns that your body will engage in.
Why this is important: when flexibility and your muscles maintain good range of motion, you are likely to perform exercise in proper form, your joints are able to extend safely and thoroughly, and injury is prevented.
And remember… prevention of injury, facilitates successful future performance!
What Should a Warm-Up Involve?
Dynamic exercise/isotonic exercise which involves continuous, sustained movements. This movement is preferable as it gets muscles active and loose.
Examples of dynamic warm-ups: light cardiovascular activity such as jogging, jump rope, lunges, leg swings, shoulder rotations, arm swings, foam rolling
Interested to learn more about the benefits? Read http://www.fitnesshealth101.com/fitness/weight-training/beginners/warm-up
Fischer-Colbrie, Megan. “The Importance of Warm Up and Cool Down for Athletes.” BridgeBlog. BridgeAthletic, n.d. Web. 23 June 2017. <http://blog.bridgeathletic.com/the-importance-of-warm-up-and-cool-down-for-athletes>.
“Importance of Warming Up before Sport – Sports Injury Prevention.” Sports Medicine Information . NMSI, n.d. Web. 23 June 2017. <http://www.nsmi.org.uk/articles/injury-prevention/warming-up.html>.
Administrator. “Warming Up and Stretching.” FitnessHealth101. FitnessHealth101, n.d. Web. 23 June 2017. <http://www.fitnesshealth101.com/fitness/weight-training/beginners/warm-up>.