Never in a million years did I ever think I’d have to warm up. Shoot I used to be late to my soccer game, throw my cleats on and jump in the game. Ya ...that was when I was in my teens and young 20’s, not so much the case any more.
There’s a reason why one should warm up and cool down. In fact it’s beneficial to do so. Research has shown that there are far more benefits to be reaped by warming up than not doing so. But what in the world does warming up have to offer and what does it even look like?
Warming up is simply as the name stands. It’s getting the muscles warmed up for the exercise about to be performed. When slowly easing into the exercises the body increases blood flow to the muscles. This then delivers oxygen. Oxygen is necessary for muscular contractions.
Without proper warm ups one can run the risk of an injury. A perfect example would be a sprinter. These athletes take almost an hour properly warming up their body to run for 10-15 seconds. But why?!?
Think of the muscles like a rubber band. If the rubber band hasn’t been “warmed up” and you quickly stretch it out, there runs the possibility of it snapping. Now the muscles don’t snap but they can tear, strain or pull.
For runners an area prone to injury is the hamstring. You may even hear an injured runner that they “ran with cold muscles.” That simply means that their muscles were not warmed up properly for the great amount of demand required of them.
Warming up also serves as well... practice rounds. Have you ever tried to run sprints and time them, realizing the first few were usually trash times? That’s because your body is adapting to the demand.
Or perhaps you run for a few miles and then you hit the runners high. Your body and it’s muscles now feel ready to run like Forrest Gump. This is in part or your cardiovascular system but also your muscular demand has been sustained.
Great! We’ve covered why one should do a warm up, now what does it look like.
Warm ups should prepare the joints and muscles for movement. The best way to do this is dynamic movement/stretching. Think of it as fluid movement.
Let’s practice it.
Take your arms and hold them out to your sides. Now do small circular motion with your entire arm. Do that for 10-15 times and then go the reverse way. Now go a little bit bigger with the circular motion. Repeat 10-15 times, then opposite direction. Now even bigger circles!
You get the picture right?
In sports, warm ups will replicate movements performed during the sport/competition. The purpose of doing this is to gradually build the intensity. For instance one would go from small shuffles to frolicking, skipping, then driving the knee upward during a high skip for bigger movements.
Imagine that you go into a fútbol game and you jump for a header. Had you not warmed up with practicing jumps you may tweak something on the way up or down.
Now you’re all caught up on the purpose of warm ups and what they look like! So before your next workout, be sure to incorporate a warm up. Let’s give this a practice thought...
Comment below what your warm up will include and the activity you are going to accomplish. Ready, set, go!
In health and exercise,