How often do you do a proper warm-up before your workout? We’re not talking about a couple of half-hearted calf stretches, or one-minute strolling on the treadmill before you plunge straight into a hardcore legs workout. A proper warm-up incorporates both static and dynamic stretches and aerobic activity to raise your muscle temperature and get your body ready for a grueling routine. It’s essential for preventing injury.
Why should we take warm-up seriously?
Here are just three of the many benefits.1
1. Improved muscle elasticity
Warming up increases muscle temperature, which in turn improves muscle elasticity and allows it to contract more forcefully and relax more quickly. Explosive power increases, while the risk of pulling a muscle decreases.
2. Higher endurance and energy levels
Having trouble lasting through one complete workout? Maybe you should warm-up a little more. Warming up increases blood temperature and makes oxygen more readily available to working muscles.
3. Improve efficient cooling
Warm-up activates your body’s natural heat dissipation mechanisms, ensuring you can cool down efficiently and maintain your optimal body temperature for peak physical performance.
When you think of a warm-up, stretching is probably the first thing that comes to mind. But don’t jump straight into deep lunges and calf pulls — spend 5-10 minutes on a treadmill or stationary bike first. Stretching is most effective for muscles that are already warm.2 In contrast, stretching a cold muscle increases the risk of pulls and tears.
A good warm-up routine should incorporate a light to medium-intensity aerobic activity of gradually increasing intensity, followed by dynamic stretches to get your blood flowing into the right muscles. Check out UFC fighter Ben Nguyen’s warm-up routine for better guidance!
- https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-warm-up-before-exercise-3119266. Viewed on 13 August 2018.
- https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/jan/07/how-to-get-best-out-of-exercise. Viewed on 13 August 2018.
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