The Importance of Warming Up
Before you start your exercise program do you warm up? Warming up and cooling down are just as important if not more important than the actual workout. The more prepared your body is prior to working out, the less likely you are to injure yourself.
- Warming up increases blood flow. Blood flow is important for increasing your body temperature, waking up your central nervous system and letting your body know that it’s time to work out.
- Warm-ups improve your range of motion. The warm-up is the time to address limitations in your range of motion. Warm-ups will increase your range of motion you may not normally have. Movement quality is equally important.
- Warm-ups can teach your body how to move correctly and reduce joint pain.
Most of us think about warming up by doing simple things such as a treadmill walk/run or on the elliptical. However, there are many and more effective ways to warm up.
Different ways to warm up:
- Foam Rolling – As one of my favorite ways to warm up, foam rolling will increase blood flow to the body, increase range of motion and decrease the chance of injury and joint pain. Foam rolling will release tension in the myofascial tissue. This will allow for increased blood flow, range of motion and may reduce joint pressure/pain.
- Dynamic warm-ups – Dynamic warm-ups are more movement specific. It activates muscles you will use during your workout. For example, a lunge with a twist is a dynamic stretching exercise that engages your hips, legs, and core muscles. Whether you are doing weighted lunges in the gym or playing sports, these muscles involved have already been engaged during your warm-up.
- Static-stretching – Static stretching is ideal prior to exercise to prepare the joints for movement and for optimal activation of the muscles. Static sustained stretches are designed to hold a position for a joint or a muscle and is minimally challenging. Keep in mind this type of stretch is best post weight training or pre-cardio. For best results, hold each static stretch for 30 seconds.