Warm ups! So, so important.

Missing the warm up is something that I see in the gym on a regular basis. People are so keen to get their workout done and get home that they miss out on one of the most important aspects of their session. Below are some of the reasons that warming up should be the first thing on your workout sheet. Your body will thank you for it.

What is a warm-up?

The warm up takes place before physical activity. It helps to prepare your body for exercise by elevating your heart rate, increasing blood flow around the body and loosening muscle fibres. A good warm up also mentally prepares you for exercise.

What happens in a warm-up?

Warm-up sessions should include a combination of cardiovascular exercises, stretching and strength. The cardiovascular exercises are included to increase blood circulation, increase body temperature and elevate the heart rate, while stretching prepares the muscles for the movements they are about to perform. Explosive strength exercises, which may include sprint drills or jumps, gently increase the level of intensity and prepare the body for sudden movements in the game which will follow. The explosive part of the warm up should only occur once the body has gone through the previous two stages of the warm up.

Effects of the warm-up

A warm up prepares the body for exercise by slowly increasing the heart rate and circulation. This results in the loosening of the joints and an increase in blood flow to the muscles. Stretching the muscles prepares them for physical activity and prevents injuries. The warm-up is also a good opportunity for an individual to prepare themselves mentally for the game ahead and for a team to work together prior to the start of the game.

How long should a warm up last?

Depending on the activity. If you are about to undertake a gym session, 5-10 minutes will suffice. If you are going to be exercising for longer (i.e. a football/rugby match), 20-25 minutes should fully prepare your body.

Preventing injury

The most important role of the warm up is to prevent injuries. If done correctly a warm up is a fantastic tool to help you get the most out of your bodies performance, allowing you to work at your peak for longer.