We know this sounds obvious.
We also know that you probably already know this.
We also know it’s the first thing to get cut out of a workout or exercise.
Hands up, we can all admit at some point or another to cutting down the warm up to get exercising over and done with quicker. So, how can we encourage people to warm up and down more frequently? Asides from giving you more hours in the day, we rely on the science. We think it’s important to make sure the science is digestible, written in laymen terms and therefore easily understood. Let’s get to grips with warm-up science and start with the most obvious reason to never skip your warm up…
1. Warming up reduces your risk of injury
Dynamic movements during a warm up will help to improve your overall mobility, as it enables your joints to move through their full range of motion. It makes you much more resistant to strains, sprains and tears, and it activates your nervous system ready to take on the stresses of your workout. It’s important to note mobility and flexibility are different, with one focusing on increasing joint range of motion and the other on lengthening the muscles.
2. Warming up increases your body’s temperature
Warming up allows increased blood flow to your muscles, supplying them with more oxygen at a faster rate. It also increases their temperature. This ensures your muscles are working more efficiently for longer periods – resulting in a better performance. Period.
As your temperature rises, this also allows the tissues surrounding your joints to loosen and therefore improves your range of motion and flexibility. Again, this will improve the efficiency of your movement during the workout.
3. A good warm up reduces unnecessary stress on your cardiovascular system
Our bodies are not built to go from zero to 100 in a few short minutes - that's a sure fire way to find yourself sat in a Chiropractors clinic! It’s incredibly important to ease your way into any exercise, as a sudden jump from being inactive to moving at full pelt can cause serious damage to your muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints. A slow increase in intensity is important, as it allows your heart to gradually start working harder to pump blood and therefore more oxygen to supplement your muscles. It can place a lot of unnecessary stress on your heart if it's not done gradually, which is potentially incredibly dangerous in some circumstances.
“Okay, that’s all great – but I don’t know how to warm up?”
Don’t fear! One of the most incredible enablers for warm ups and fitness is actually a quick Google and YouTube. If you aren’t sure about what the best warm up exercise includes for your specific activity, just pop it into your search engine and ask for a recommended warm up. Remember, overall warm ups should be; varying, dynamic and mimic the movements of your workout.
Preparing your body before you exercise doesn’t have to take long, even a few minutes of a focused warm up will still benefit you hugely and will play a role in effectively keeping you healthy alongside your training. This shouldn’t be considered as separate to the workout – it should be considered as part of it – so dedicate those extra five minutes next time and we promise your body will thank you for it in the long term.