Why Do We Warm Up?
Often we find ourselves busy with little time to exercise and if we do find that time we are already thinking about the next thing on our “To Do” list. With being busy and in a hurry we often overlook warming up before exercise, which has more benefits than we may think. Here are a few reasons why we have clients warm up before physical therapy and also apply to any physical activity.
Benefits of a Proper Warm Up:
- Increased Muscle Temperature – Warming up before exercise does exactly that; the temperature inside the muscles increases. Warm muscles both contract more forcefully and relax more quickly. A warm muscle also decreases the risk of overstretching a muscle.
- Blood Vessels Dilate – This reduces the resistance of blood flow allowing blood to move more quickly throughout the body giving muscles the nutrients they need and reduce stress on the heart.
- Improved Range of Motion – By properly warming up a greater range of motion through dynamic and static stretching can be achieved.
- Injury Prevention – Studies have shown that muscle tears occur more often when the muscles are cold or not warmed up.
From these studies we can see that Enhanced performance and Injury Prevention are the two leading benefits of properly warming up. After reading this you may be thinking about trying to warm up next time you go to the gym, so here are a few tips.
- How Long Should I Warm Up? Studies aren’t conclusive but most studies recommend between 10-20 minutes.
- What Should I Do For Warm Up? A low-intensity aerobic activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, or others as well. The exercise you do for warm up should work the muscles you plan to use during exercise.
So next time you go to the gym try a proper warm up and know that you are preventing injuries first and foremost and may enhance performance as well.