Exercise Warm Up

People often discount the importance of proper exercise warm up. I often find myself pressed for time and skip those important 10 minutes only to suffer a pulled muscle or strain that could have easily been avoided with a simple warm up. Even in the heat of the summer try and make time to get your body warmed up for the challenge of your intemse wokout.

If done correctly there are many benefits of a proper exercise warm up. First lets look at what happens to your body during the warm up phase of exercise:

1. It raises your heart rate, which will increase your core temperature.
2. It Improves joint range of motion.
3. Gradually prepares your body for intense exercise.
4. Prevents injury by improving the elasticity of your muscles.

Two Phases of Warm Up:

  • Flexibility exercises
  • Progressive aerobic activity that utilizes the muscles that you will be using during your workout.

    Choosing which warm-up activity to use is as easy as slowing down what you will be doing during your workout. 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 will be lifting weights such as bench pressing, then start with a few push ups. The guideline is to warm up 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 of your workout as well as your own fitness level.

    After the aerobic warm-up activity, you should incorporate flexibility/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 muscles more pliable. Be sure to choose flexibility exercises that stretch the primary muscles you will be using during your workout. If you're under 40 years of age, hold your stretches for 30 seconds. If you're over 40, hold them for 60 seconds. As you reach your 40s, your muscles become less pliable, so they need to be stretched longer.

    To get the most out of your exercise session, 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.

    To return from the exercise warm up page to the Fitness Home page click here.

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