“Warm up?! Who has time for that?” This is an all too common response reaction in our fast-paced world… but the truth is, proper warm up is imperative for optimal performance. And all you need is 10 minutes. Yes, just 10 meaningful minutes! Not convinced? Read on to learn 5 key reasons why the warm up before physical exercise is important, and why it’s in your best interest to make the time – whether you are training for an event or simply incorporating physical activity to stay healthy in everyday life.
Advantageous changes take place in the body during a warm up. Blood flow increases, and oxygen and nutrients are more quickly delivered to your cells, to prepare the body for the physical stress induced by exercise. If you bypass the warm up process, the body may function less efficiently, and the quality of your workouts can suffer.
5 KEY REASONS TO WARM UP
Reason #1: It gets your heart rate up.
Allowing for a gradual increase in heart rate allows your body to progressively adjust to the workload and potential (likely) environmental or climate changes. This is important to avoid cramping, prevent early onset of fatigue, and to improve breath control.
Reason #2: It lubricates your joints.
Often times, your joints don’t get enough movement or lubrication throughout the day (especially for those with desk jobs). Most of the joints in your body are synovial joints with a layer of cartilage surrounding them. In between the layers of cartilage is synovial fluid which lubricates your joints, so you can move with more ease and less stiffness. The only way to get this fluid to move effectively is through movement; as with warming up before exercise.
Reason #3: It warms up your muscles.
A proper warm up shuttles blood quickly and efficiently into your muscles, which in turn provides them with more oxygen. Oxygen is the fuel that keeps them working properly. It’s also important to note that doing an exercise-specific warm up is key. For example, if you are incorporating squats into your workout, addressing hip mobility in the warm up would be advisable.
Reason #4: It prepares you mentally.
As the saying goes, “You can do whatever you set your mind to.” Planning and reviewing your workout plan, getting in the zone, and envisioning your goal better equips you to put in maximum effort and energy. Make the most of the block of time you’ve allotted yourself.
Reason #5: It helps prevent injury.
A consistent warm up (and cool down) practice can do wonders to help prevent injury. Making the time to integrate the appropriate, exercise-specific movements prepares the body, and allows it to restore balance, potentially preventing the unforeseen that could otherwise sideline you for days, weeks or even longer.
Let our athletic performance and recovery specialists help you develop the best warm up (and cool down) routines, tailored to your unique goals and activities. We offer a wellness-focused & supportive environment that can help you achieve your goals. Be sure to check our social media and blog updates for regular wellness inspiration, information, offers and support.
Contributing Author: Anika Arevalo, PT, DPT, Physical Therapist & Pelvic Health Specialist
The Back 2 Normal blog is an educational resource written by Back 2 Normal employees and professional associates. Back 2 Normal bloggers are professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.