Let’s just be honest: You probably aren’t very good about warming up. Most people aren’t – that’s just how it goes. It’s hard enough eating right before a run. Sure, you know that you should but you’re often already pressed for time to workout and the idea of making that workout even longer likely isn’t very appealing. It may even seem impossible.
But, do you know why you’re supposed to warm up? Understanding the proven benefits of this extra step may help you appreciate that it isn’t “extra” at all. It’s a necessity.
Increased Blood Flow – On average, when you’re just sitting around not doing much, blood flow to your muscles is actually pretty low – about 15 to 20 percent. If you just jump up and start exercising right now, then, you’re expecting your muscles to function with a limited amount of oxygen and nutrients. Since blood also removes performance-hindering waste from your muscles, that reduced flow also means a reduction in overall efficiency. After about 10 minutes of activity, though, blood flow to your muscles jumps up to about 70 to 75 percent. If that initial 10 minutes is a warm-up, then, your muscles will be fully primed for the real workout.
Increased Temperature – Quite literally, a warm-up warms you up. And, while this might not sound like a good thing, many experts feel that the increase in body temperature is responsible for most of the benefits associated with the warm-up. First, your blood can more easily release its oxygen at higher temperatures. Second, those increased temperatures allow your nervous system to work faster, making your muscles contract more quickly and increasing your reaction time.
Increased Metabolism – Along with the benefits discussed above, a raised body temperature makes it easier for your muscles to breakdown glucose and fat for fuel. Overall, this leads to a higher caloric expenditure – which is a fancy way of saying that you’ll burn more calories. But this also means that your muscles will have more fuel available to them, and, will therefore, be able to generate more force in less time.
Improved Mobility – Perhaps the most widely recognized benefit of a good warm-up before your workout has to do with mobility. As discussed, your body temperature increases. This means that your muscles and other connective tissue will be more pliable – more flexible. So, your range of motion will be improved, allowing you to go through your workout with less stiffness. But this increased flexibility could also reduce your risk of suffering injury to your muscles and/or joints during the workout since they will be better prepared to bend and stretch. This is similar to a lump of dough. If you pull some bread dough out of the cold refrigerator and try to pull it, the dough will likely rip. But if let the dough come up to room temperature or handle it until it heats it up, it becomes more flexible and less likely to rip.
To fully reap these benefits, however, it is important that your warm-up be specific to the workout that will follow – in terms of the muscles that will be worked and they type of work they’ll be doing.Find Mobility Guardian on Google+