Warming up is a very essential and often neglected part of a workout. Skipping it can lead to injuries like muscle tears and sprains or even serious cardiac problems.
- Warming up prepares the heart for more strenuous exercise. In a typical warming up session, a few minutes of low-impact aerobic activity gradually increases heart rate. The heart is thus prepared to pump more blood to exercising muscles when the pace of activity increases. Without this preparation, a sudden demand is put on the heart by strenuous exercise. This can prove extremely risky for older people and people with heart conditions.
- Warming up ensures that muscles are supplied with enough oxygen during exercise. Heart rate is increased gradually during the warm-up session, making more blood available to the muscles. If the muscles work without the proper oxygen supply, they resort to anaerobic energy production. In this process, lactic acid is formed, and muscle fatigue may result due to an accumulation of lactic acid.
- Warming up loosens and stretches muscles in preparation for more strenuous exercises. Stretches during warm-up prepare muscles, tendons, and joints for activity. Muscles, tendons and connective tissue are not very elastic when cold. Warming up increases blood flow to these tissues and raises their temperature. It also relaxes the body. As a result, muscles can be stretched more and exercise activities can be done more effectively. If muscles and tendons are subject to intense stretching or other activities without warming up, there is the chance of injury to these parts. Warming up activates joint fluids and reduces wear and tear on joints. You can avoid muscle tears, sprains and strains by warming up before your workout.
- Warming up ensures that the exercise that follows is more productive. After warming up, the body is conditioned for the activity that follows, and the heart and muscles are in optimal condition. This helps the body to adapt to the physical activity more efficiently. This results in a more efficient workout and reduces chances of premature fatigue. After the workout, take time to bring down the activity level gradually to a resting level. A few gentle stretches can be done during this time. The heart rate can thus be brought back slowly to normal. Cooling down reduces soreness in muscles that sometimes occurs the day after exercise.
- Warming up prepares the body for an intensive workout. Warming up can be done using some preparatory exercises or by doing the primary workout activity at a slow leisurely pace. A few minutes of cycling on an exercise bike or walking on a treadmill, together with some stretches held for ten to thirty seconds each can warm you up for your workout. Five to fifteen minutes should be spent on warming up. The duration depends on the intensity of the activity planned afterward. If you are training in a boot camp or with a personal trainer, you will be guided on a proper warm-up routine. Do not skip this essential part of a workout if you want to exercise effectively without getting injured.