Warm Up to Work Out
If you were told that extending your workouts by 5 to 10 minutes
could prevent injury and lessen fatigue, would you do it?
Short pre-exercise warm-ups have a range of immediate benefits. Consequently, warming up properly before you exercise can have a positive long-term impact on your overall health and your ability to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight range well into the future.
What happens when you warm up properly?
When you exercise, your cardiovascular, respiratory and neuromuscular systems, and metabolic energy pathways are stimulated.
Put simply, your muscles contract and to meet their increasing demands for oxygen, your heart rate, blood flow and breathing rates increase.
Blood moves faster to working muscles bringing vital nutrients and elements to help them function. Your blood temperature rises and oxygen is released more quickly, raising the temperature of the muscles. This allows the muscles to use glucose and fatty acids to burn calories and create energy for the exercise.
All of these processes prepare the body for higher-intensity action.
By easing your body into this process, you can exercise for longer periods and you can do so much more safely, minimizing the potential for injury and improving your recovery rate post-exercise.
Specifically, a gradual warm-up:
- Leads to efficient calorie burning by increasing your core body temperature,
- Produces faster, more forceful muscle contractions,
- Increases your metabolic rate so oxygen is delivered to the working muscles more quickly,
- Prevents injuries by improving the elasticity of your muscles,
- Gives you better muscle control by speeding up your neural message pathways to the muscles,
- Allows you to work out comfortably longer because all your energy systems are able to adjust to exercise, preventing the buildup of lactic acid in the blood,
- Improves joint range of motion,
- Psychologically prepares you for higher intensities by increasing your arousal and focus on exercise.
How to warm-up correctly.
Your warm-up should consist of two phases:
1) Light aerobic activity that utilizes the muscles you will be using during your workout, and
2) Flexibility exercises or stretching.
A great warm-up choice is simply slowing down or easing into the activity you will be doing during your work-out.
For example, if you will be running, warm up with a slow jog, or if you will be cycling outdoors, begin in lower gears. If you are weight training, include a warm-up set for each exercise that involves a light weight and a high number of repetitions.
An ideal intensity for an aerobic warm-up has yet to be established, but a basic guideline is to work at a level that produces a small amount of perspiration, but doesn't leave you feeling fatigued.
The duration of the warm-up activity will depend on the intensity and length of your workout, as well as your fitness level. If your workout will be extremely intense and will last a relatively long time, warm-up a little longer than you would for a shorter, less-intense workout.
After the exercise part of your warm-up you should incorporate some stretching exercises.
Stretching muscles after warming them up with low-intensity aerobic activity will produce a better stretch since the rise in muscle temperature and circulation increases muscle elasticity, making them more pliable.
Be sure to choose flexibility exercises that stretch the primary muscles you will be using during your workout. Include as many secondary muscle groups (those that do not seem to be directly in use during your main exercise activity) as you can in the time you have as well.
Make the time.
In order to fully reap the benefits of the time you are spending exercising, you must warm-up.
Taking those extra few minutes to adjust to increased activity will ensure a better performance from your body and, in turn, will make your workout more efficient, productive and, best of all, enjoyable.
Good luck with your exercise and weight loss and thanks for visiting weightloss.com.au
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This article was written by Scott Haywood.
Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.
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