Just like a cool down, many of us can’t be bothered to do a warm up 80% of the time, yet this is one of the most crucial parts to exercise. It allows us to prepare our bodies for the upcoming training session and it could be the key to help you develop your training further, most don’t realise but we need to be getting ourselves up to 39/40 degrees to perform at our best. Here are some reasons you should always work a warm up into your training sessions.
Secretion of Synovial Fluid
Synovial fluid is a liquid that essentially lubricates our joints. While it’s secreted during exercise, if we are to skip a warm up and you jump straight into high intensity exercises then our joints wont be ready for the strained movement and pressure they’ll be put under. Aim to get in a warm up that targets all the areas that you plan to be working in the session.
Heat the Muscles, Treat the Muscles
You could have a run scheduled, wanting to do legs or spending a session on your core but whatever you do, make sure you do a specific warm up for the area you intend to be training. If it’s a run, then a short jog. Doing legs? Then use a body weight squat at a mild intensity and if you’re planning on working your core then aim to do a short plank and exercises that mimic the ones you have planned. This allows our bodies to heat the muscles we intend to use which means they become more elastic, the individual muscle fibres become more supple and therefore the muscle will stretch easier. This will not only increase our capabilities but also make muscles less prone to injury.
Much like heating the muscles through our warm up, we also need to prepare our mind and central nervous system for the activity. Conducting a warm up that mimics the exercise we will be doing later on trains and enhances the neural pathways that are already there for the particular activity. This helps our body to speed up its reaction times and have additional benefits such as improved co-ordination and balance.
A warm up allows our bodies to increase the blood flow to the individual muscles before we get into the most important part of our training session. Having a higher rate of blood flow to the muscles means that oxygen and essential nutrients are delivered to the muscles faster through the process of vasodilation. Having more oxygen and nutrients going to our muscles and heart means that they can work and pump harder and for longer, good news all round!
The General Gist of a Warm Up
A typical warm up should focus on building intensity slowly, with some set focus on various body parts that’ll be included in the session. There’s no need for anything strenuous- just build up slowly and increase your body temperature.