A warm-up is an essential part of any exercise regime. It helps to prepare the body and mind for the workout ahead, while decreasing the chance of any future injury. There are a host of benefits of warming up before exercising. Let us look at the top 10 physical benefits of warming up before exercise.
10 Physical Benefits Of Warming Up Before Exercise
A warm-up can be as simple as a few minutes of walk on the treadmill before a run or a full set of weight exercises with light weights. A warm-up can also include dynamic moves like core rotation and jumping jacks to prepare an individual for the following activity. A warm-up generally lasts for 5 to 10 minutes, but offers significant benefits. A warm-up helps to improve the blood flow in the working muscle to decrease muscle stiffness and improve performance.
The top 10 physical benefits of warming up before exercise are:
Improves muscle temperature
Warm-up primarily prepares the cardiovascular system for a workout. While performing the movements, the muscles get warmed up and tend to contract more forcefully and relax faster. This leads to enhancement of both speed and strength. Exercise also causes the heart to respond by rapidly pumping more blood. A warm-up makes it easier for the cardiovascular system to meet these greater demands and prevents the occurrence of a sudden spike in blood pressure. One of the most needed physical benefits of warming up before exercise is improved muscle temperature.
Makes the workout safer
The brain and body need to connect well for a workout to be effective and safe. When shifting from the activity being done right before the workout, the body needs to get accustomed to the change, and a warm-up especially helps it to adapt to the condition. Warm up is a way to letting the body know that it should get prepared for more rigorous activity than what it was engaged in, earlier. While workouts are good, they necessarily must be safe and one of the physical benefits of warming up before exercise is to make workouts safer and more efficient.
Increases body temperature
The body performs better when its temperature is slightly higher. A warm-up, especially in the morning, helps to elevate body temperature so that a slight improvement in performance can be experienced by the individual. One of the most important physical benefits of warming up before exercise is elevated body temperature, which helps improves calorie burning, thus giving more fruitful results of exercising.
Improves oxygen delivery and muscle pliability
A warm-up improves the flow of blood through the tissues, and results in greater muscle flexibility. The more elastic a muscle is, lesser is its chance of becoming strained or torn. Warm-up also enhances the body’s ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to working muscles, and thereby helps them perform at their best. Thus, improved oxygen supply and flexible muscles can be achieved as one of the physical benefits of warming up before exercise.
When the nervous system is prepared, it communicates better with muscles. A dynamic warm-up, which includes moves like lunges, slow mountain climbers, and plank position, is especially effective in stimulating the central nervous system. When the nerve-to-muscle pathways communicate clearly, the body tends to respond with quicker reaction times and swifter movements. This benefit of warming up before exercise can help in better exercise performance and can enable taking more challenging workouts as well.
Boosts mental preparedness
People who are stressed tend to under-perform during their exercise session. Stress distracts them and even slows them down. They also fail to concentrate on the task at hand, become careless and even end up getting injured at times. A warm-up can help people separate their exercise session from the rest of the day. It is also a good time to mentally prepare for an event by clearing the mind, increasing focus, reviewing skills and strategy. This mental preparation adds to the physical benefits of warming up before exercise.
Boosts endurance and helps to exercise longer
Excess lactic acid build up in the blood reduces the body’s ability to exercise. Without a warm-up, lactic acid can accumulate faster in the blood and make working out seem almost impossible in the first few minutes. However, warm up can help the energy systems of the body adjust to the increased demands, and slow down the accumulation of lactic acid. Thus, one of the important physical benefits of warming up before exercise is enabling a longer and harder workout.
Triggers hormonal changes
The production of various hormones which are responsible for regulating the energy level in the body increases during a warm-up. This balance of hormones helps to make more carbohydrates and fatty acids available for energy production. Thus, warming up before exercise improves hormonal balance and helps boost metabolism.
Activates the core and improves joint safety
A warm-up helps to improve the range of motion of the joints, specifically the hips, knees, ankles and shoulders. Immobile joints limit a person’s ability to move efficiently, decrease their power and slow them down. Stiff joints are extremely vulnerable to injuries too. A warm-up, which involves the glutes, spine, abdominals, hip flexors, and back muscles, prepares the body to remain stable and balanced during the workout session. This core preparation also helps in guarding the joints from injury by giving the individual control over their movements. One of the major physical benefits of warming up before exercise is protection of joints and preventing injuries during workouts.
Helps in overcoming objections
A warm-up can help a person work out on days when they just don’t feel like exercising. Apart from the physical benefits of warming up before exercise, warm-ups can also act as a great motivator to continue with the workout. When feeling like skipping off the gym, a person should engage in at least 10 minutes of warm-up. After those 10 minutes, chances are they would feel better and would be ready to continue with their workout. A warm-up can also help to test a body which is overcoming injury or illness.