Why you should warm up before exercising
A proper warm-up is preparing your body AND mind to gradually increase the intensity from resting levels to the intensity of the next phase.
If you are starting an exercise program to get back in shape and live a healthier life, don’t spare the extra 10 minutes for your warm-up!
Your warm-up should involve dynamic stretching—performing gentle repetitive motions in a way that gradually increases motion, circulation, muscle length and focuses on actions similar to the movements you’ll do while you work out. During this warm-up, focus on the muscles you want the brain to connect with and try to pause during the moment of maximum contraction.
5 things that happened during your warm-up:
1. Increases blood flow to your muscles and heart:
It brings the heart rate up, which supports the body during exercise by better facilitating oxygen and nutrients to working muscles.
2. Raise Body temperature:
As your muscle temperature increases, oxygen becomes more available to your muscles, allowing them to contract more easily. So you’ll be able to perform more strenuous tasks with ease, reducing the risk of overstretching a muscle and causing injury.
3. Increase Range of motion:
This allows your large joints to reach their maximum movement potential and enhance their ranges of motion to improve performance and reduce the incidence of injuries.
4. Hormonal changes occur:
Your body increases its production of various hormones, including cortisol and epinephrine, responsible for regulating energy production. During a warm-up, this balance of hormones makes more carbohydrates and fatty acids available for energy production.
5. Creating a mind-muscle connection:
The first step towards muscular contraction is a signal sent by the brain to your muscles, telling them to contract. The more you can improve this communication, the more muscle fibers you will recruit.
When you focus on the mind-muscle connection -concentrate on your target muscles-, it guarantees that both your body and mind will be ready to succeed. This will help you engage certain muscles, improve your technique, coordination, and skill.
If you have muscle groups that refuse to grow, no matter how hard you train them, mindfulness is key!
Having a good understanding of which muscle groups you are targeting (during the warm-up) will make focus and concentration that much easier.
To boost your athletic performance, it is necessary to build a proper mind-muscle connection.
Foam rolling is also a marvelous way to stretch your tight muscles and work out your problem areas before activity. I find this tool especially good for stretching hard-to-stretch tissue like the IT (iliotibial) band, which runs down the side of your legs from hip to knee, and muscles of the legs.
Watch my video on how to ROLL OUT YOUR LOWER BODY, great especially if you have tide hips.
Student about the Warm-up before doing a HIIT
A study (in the Essentials of Exercise Physiology by William D. McArdle, Frank I. Katch, Victor L. Katch) was performed on 44 men to examine the effects of high-intensity exercise on the heart. The subjects had to perform 10 to 15 seconds of intense exercise on a treadmill without a warm-up. The results showed that 70% of subjects had abnormal ECG readings because of the inadequate oxygen supplied to the heart — in essence, their hearts weren’t ready to perform at the high rates required for the intense exercises.
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