The importance of the warm-up
As a trainer, I require all of my clients to warm-up a minimum of 10 minutes before working out with me. Over the years I have encountered many people who do not like to warm-up and even fight me on it. They say, “I’ve been running around the house all morning.” Now, if they had really been jogging around their house I’d say ok, but walking around the house doing errands really doesn’t count! Why is the warm-up so important? My answer to them is to minimize the risk of injury, but it is so much more than that.
A warm-up prior to exercise prepares the body for the workout session. It increases the heart rate at a progressive rate, which reduces the amount of strain to the heart. A warm-up also enhances the reflexes by speeding up nerve impulses. The increased heart rate sends oxygenated blood to the muscle groups, enhancing muscle activity and reducing stiffness. The increased blood flow also helps in higher metabolism rates and promotes better flexibility and joint mobility. The warm-up also reduces the risk of muscle sprains and strains, muscle cramps, and joint injury. Apart from the physical benefits, it can also prepare you mentally for the workout ahead.
Your warm-up should be vigorous enough to work up a sweat, but not so intense that it tires you out. Depending on your fitness level and workout, it may consist of fast walking, easy jogging or biking, or a series of dynamic exercises. If performing any higher risk exercises, such as deadlifts, pull-ups, push ups, dips, etc, always add a few easier exercises to those muscle groups first to warm up the joints. Warming up is considered to be just as important as the actual workout session and can improve the performance level.
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