Why do I need to warm up before exercise?
We all know the advice to do a warm up before jumping straight into exercise - whether that be training or a race or event. But why should we do so?
Increase blood flow to our muscles. Warming up will increase the blood flow to our skeletal muscles - that is the muscles we use to move. Our bodies are really good at being efficient and when we are sitting or not moving our muscles don't need much blood flow and oxygen to function. By warming up we get out muscles ready to produce the energy they need for exercise.
Injury prevention. Muscles which have good blood supply are able to function better and have better elasticity than 'cold' muscles so it takes more force to injure them. Muscles generate a lot of heat while working hard and the circulatory system is important for dispersing this heat and stop you overheating.
Mental preparation. Whether it is training or a race you need to be mentally prepared for the task in front of you. The mind and the body are intrinsically linked so the act of priming the body during a warm up will also have the effect of preparing your mind for what you are about to do.
So what should you do to warm up?
I will be covering more about what to do to warm up in future posts so why not subscribe to my blog to get these as soon as they land.
In brief though a warm up needs to prepare you for the task in hand so look to target the specific muscle groups you will be using for your exercise, as well as some activity to start to elevate your heart rate and increase blood flow in your body.
A well planned and executed warm up will get your mind and body in a prime state for exercise, help you to stay injury free and achieve your goals! What warm up routines work best for you?