Do you lead an active lifestyle? Whether you’re an athlete or you just like to go to the gym a few times a week, it’s very important to warm up before taking part in any physical activity. Warming up is one of the most important steps in preventing injuries.
A warm up is usually involves some light cardio exercises and stretches to get the blood moving into your muscles. You’ll want to do a combination of cardio, stretching and strength drills. These exercises will increase your circulation and body temperature, bring your heart rate up and warm the muscles. This is an important step in preparing your body to engage in physical activity.
Many athletes like to gently increase their intensity levels during warm ups while many others engage in explosive strength exercises to prepare the body for sudden movements during a game.
What to Expect from a Warm Up
Through steady increases in heart rate and circulation, warm-ups prepare the body for exercise, loosening the joints and increasing blood flow to muscles. Warm ups before sport also serve to strengthen the muscles, which is the best way to prevent injuries and excel at physical activity.
Warming up before sports also help to mentally prepare the player for the game and it’s a good way for the team to work together and practice skills and drills.
Warm up exercises should generally last about 20 to 30 minutes for sport and maybe 5 to 10 minutes for regular exercise. This will give the body plenty of time to get ready for intense physical activity.
How Do Warm Ups Prevent Injury?
The main reason you should warm up before sport is because this preparation helps to prevent injury. By keeping the muscles warm, you’ll prevent acute injuries like strains and avoid overuse injuries by helping the body to prepare safely and gradually. For those who play static sports, like cricket, stretching throughout the game is a good way to keep the muscles warm and functioning well.
Don’t Just Stretch!
While it’s important to stretch before exercise, stretching is not a substitute for warming up – as the names suggest, they are two different activities. If you jump right into stretching without warming the body and increasing circulation, you can injure your muscles. Likewise, if you do a warm up but forgo the stretching, you can also suffer from injuries.
A solid workout means you start with a good warm-up of running, jogging, walking or easy pedalling on the bike, followed by stretching and then a strenuous workout that increases your heart rate. You should always end with a cool down, which involves more stretching, to help your muscles relax gradually.