We always ask our clients to arrive at least 5-10 minutes early in order to warm up prior to exercise. The importance of a warm up should be appreciated and included as part of your workout regimen.
A warm up period allows your heart rate and breathing rate to gradually increase and prepare your body for exercise. By slowly increasing the intensity of the workload, the body is prepared for efficient and safe functioning of the heart, lungs, blood vessels, and muscles during more vigorous exercise to follow.
A good warm up can reduce the muscle or joint soreness experienced during the beginning of a workout. Think of this as “loosening up your muscles.” Your body’s joints will loosen and blood flow to the working muscles will increase.
As a part of a warm up, stretching may be added in after walking, biking, or other dynamic movements. Dynamic movements activate our muscles and move joints through a greater range of motion. Static movements will stretch the muscles without a change in the range of motion of a joint- think of holding a hamstring stretch. As mentioned before, you want to complete dynamic movements prior to static stretching. It may even be best to save the static stretches for your cool down.
So why should I warm up?
- Increase heart rate
- Increase blood flow
- Increase body temperature
- Decrease muscle viscosity
- Mentally prepare you for a workout
- Improve performance
- Reduce the risk of injury
- Increase the satisfaction from a workout!
By Louise Mills-Strasser