Why Do You Need To Warm Up?

So, Why Do You Need To Warm Up?


For many people, a PE class was the only time they heard the phrase warm up. It’s understandable then that many people don’t know what a proper warm up routine is, aside from a lap around the school. Instead you might skip the warm up to save time and have a quicker workout, but if you want to have a more successful and injury free workout, then adding a warm up can really help you. Whether you are doing a cardio workout or a strength training session, a warm up can help to avoid injury and strained muscles (1). 


Do you include a warm up in your workouts? A warm up prepares you both physically and mentally for your workout (2). Including a warm up not only helps to reduce your risk of injury it can help to reduce the severity of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), which is that aching you feel the day post workout (3,4). A warm up isn’t just there to prepare your body for exercise, it’s also great at helping you perform better in your workouts by improving your muscular performance (5). 


What Are The Benefits Of Warm Up Exercises? 


  • Reduces the risk of injury - a warm up can help the muscles to relax which can lead to a reduction in injuries (1)
  • Increased body and muscle temperature - resulting in more efficiency in muscular contractions (6)
    • Increase circulation to muscles - resulting in an enhanced oxygen supply to the working muscles (7)
    • Reduction in the severity of DOMS - evidence show an active warm up can reduce muscle stiffness (1)
    • Improved reaction times - result of an increased speed of nerve impulses post warm up (6)
    • Increased energy level - through an increase in metabolic rate (6)

    What Types Of Exercises Should I Do In A Warm Up?


    The type of warm up you need to complete depends on the exercises you are planning in your workouts. The warm up can include body weight exercises like squats, or use equipment such as resistance bands which activate muscle groups to improve balance and coordination (2). There are active warm ups that are physically active exercises like running, jumping or stretching, and passive warm ups which use external means like a hot shower or sauna (8).


    What Warm Up Stretches Are Best?


    You may have heard of static stretching and dynamic stretching and their benefits in a warm up. If not, we have an awesome blog called Benefits of Stretching. Go check it out if you want to learn more. You can often find dynamic stretching in a warm up and static stretching in a cool down (1).


    A dynamic warm up will help prime your body to work at higher intensities and prepare both the body and mind for what is ahead by strengthening and preparing your muscles so they’re less likely to be strained (1,2). An effective warm up will include similar movements to what you’ll be doing in your main workout. If you are doing a cardio type of workout you may do exercises that increase the heart rate and include star jumps, high knees or jogging on the spot. In comparison, strength based workouts may include exercises that are resistance based like band stretches to activate muscle groups. Including warm up exercises will help improve your workout performance by improving your strength, mobility, coordination and speed (1,11).

     


    References 


    1.  https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/warm-up-exercises
    2. https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Citation/2000/04000/The_Functional_Warm_Up.15.aspx
    3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5833972/
    4.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0004951407700417
    5. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Duane_Knudson/publication/240184136_Warm-up_and_flexibility/links/0046353b54ce3432ef000000/Warm-up-and-flexibility.pdf 
    6. .http://www.raijmr.com/ijrhs/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/IJRHS_2013_vol01_issue_05_11.pdf
    7. https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Citation/1992/10000/EXERCISE_PHYSIOLOGY__Physiological_Responses_to.7.aspx
    8. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-200737120-00006
    9. https://www.mdpi.com/2411-5142/4/3/42/pdf
    10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605167/
    11. https://bmcmusculoskeletdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2474-10-37

    Written by Performance For All - find us on Instagram @wearepfa


    Researched and written by: Jade Mottley Sport Scientist and MSc Human Nutrition student (Head Coach at Performance For All)


    Edited by: Sophie O’Neill - BA Creative Writing Student (Content Writer at Performance for All)

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