The Importance of Warming Up Before Exercise
The colder months are here, so it’s a good time to discuss the importance of warming up before you exercise. A warm up is a crucial part of the exercise process. This is especially true during the winter since your body is generally colder during this time. Cold muscles do not perform as well and have a greater risk of injury.
A warm-up is a lower intensity exercise that is completed prior to more strenuous activity. A warm up prepares your body for exercise. A good warm up increases blood circulation and warms up your muscles, ligaments and tendons. This reduces the likelihood of injury since warmer muscles are more flexible and, therefore, less likely to tear.
A warm up also increases performance. Not only do warm muscles perform better than cold ones, but a warm up can also serve as mental preparation. It can get you ready for physical activity. Plus, a warm up increases blood flow to your muscles, which means that more oxygen also goes to your muscles. This means greater performance.
Warm Up Tips
Most warm ups last between 10 and 20 minutes. However, some people will find that they need more time to get properly warmed up. This is especially true in cold weather.
A good place to start is by loosing up your joints. This can be accomplished by rolling your shoulders, back, ankles, etc. Work slowly and deliberately. Move your body around safely in order to increase mobility.
The next step is to get your heart pumping a bit. Try some exercises such as jumping jacks, skipping rope, jogging, etc. Remember that this is your warm up and not the actual exercise. The goal is to increase your heart rate, but remember to save the full intensity exercise for when you start working out.
Stretching is also important. Once your muscles are warm, stretch your muscles through a range of motion. Try to mimic the motions that your body will be doing during your chosen exercise. Move slowly and deliberately.
By getting a good warm up before you exercise, you’ll feel better, perform better and be much less likely to suffer an injury. Good luck!