Warm up before exercise

Proper warm up helps to avoid injuries

Photo: SashaW CC-BY-2.0

An all too common fact is that many people do not warm-up prior to doing physical activities such as playing sports or exercising. Performing this simple act can reduce injuries, as well as increasing performance.

For the average person training in a gym, a light jog on a treadmill or slow bike riding for ten minutes is adequate enough to start things off. For an athlete competing in a sport, dynamic warm-ups are recommended.

Performing warm-up exercises get the heart rate up at a safe pace. This in turn pumps more blood into the muscles. With the additional blood in the muscles, they are better prepared for the rigors of exercise.

In addition, joints and ligaments loosen up when warm, giving better flexibility. In turn, this helps to reduce injury. For instance, doing some simple shoulder specific movement can help to prevent all too common rotator cuff injuries.

As mentioned earlier, a slow jog on the treadmill is a fantastic general way to warm up. At times there is a need to prepare for a specific sport, such as softball, soccer, etc. Dynamic warm-ups would be very beneficial with these types of activities. These consist of exercises that focus on the particular demands of the sport. For example, if you are playing soccer, it would be wise to concentrate on warming up the joints in lower half of the body, such as the knees, hips, ankles. The same is said for the muscles of the bottom half, such as the calves, quadriceps and hamstrings.

At one time it was common practice to sperfom static or ballistic stretching prior to exercising. A study showed a decrease in power when stretches are done prior to use. This is a very good reason to save any stretching to be done in conjunction with a cool down routing, which we will discuss at another time.

For more info:

Warm up before exercise
Warm up stretches & warm up exercises for a power workout routine
Easy warm up exercises
How to recover from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
Ballistic stretching – Danerous or not?

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One Response to “Warm up before exercise”

  1. [...] and professional ranks of athletes do not rely on stretching prior to playing their sport. A proper warm-up should not be avoided in order to get the muscles, ligaments, and joints a proper primer. Studies [...]

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