Exercise related injuries are unfortunately common, especially for people who do not work out regularly. One of the reasons this happens is because individuals aren’t doing the proper stretching and warm-up exercises before starting a more intense workout.
Why are exercise warm-ups essential for a successful fitness program?
Increased blood flow
When you start cold, your muscles go from a state of rest to an immediate state of increased motion. Increasing the blood flow to the working muscles before you begin the exercise routine can help get your body ready for the change in activity.
Warm-ups increase the flow of oxygen through your body which can help you maintain controlled breathing and work out longer. You are also less likely to feel out of breath.
Preparation for your heart and blood pressure
An immediate start will also raise your blood pressure quickly. If you warm up, you will gradually increase heart and blood pressure levels so it does not shock your system.
Improve coordination and reactions
Some of this is related to muscle memory. Your body has specific reaction times to certain situations. Warming up before a workout can improve your muscle coordination.
Allow your muscles and tendons to move safely and easily
Stretching and moving your muscles slowly and deliberately before beginning the intense parts of your workout will help you avoid injury.
Lubricate your joints
The same is true for your joints, which are as delicate as they are strong. Your joints can take a lot of activity but working out without a warm-up can lead to increased joint injury and long-term pain.
Stretching and warming up before a workout can also get you into the right state of mind. Think of this as a way to pump you up so you can get the most out of your exercise program.
What kind of warm-up exercises are you doing before your workouts?
Image by Hector Alejandro via Flickr