Whether you are “just” doing a light stroll on the treadmill, a short stride on the Arc Trainer, or a heavy lifting routine, your warm up is an essential part of your exercise routine. Here are ten reasons for starting out with a warm up and not taking shortcuts!
- Increases degradation of oxyhemoglobin. In lay person's terms, warming up helps break down the chemical complex of oxygen, which enables it to separate from the blood and enhance its delivery to the muscle.
- Raises body temperature, reducing the potential for muscle and connective injuries.
- Increases blood flow to exercising muscles. The more blood that reaches the muscles, the easier the delivery of nutrients required for energy production.
- Increase blood flow to the heart. More blood to the heart means a reduced risk for exercise-induced cardiac abnormalities.
- Decreases muscle viscosity. Warming up enhances the pliability and suppleness of the muscle.
- Help promote sweating. Sweating reduces the amount of heat stored in the body. Your body spends more energy cooling itself than through any other activity.
- Enhances the speed of transmission of nerve impulses. Motor faculties improve greatly when you're warmed up.
- Increases the blood saturation of muscles and connective tissue. Sounds messy. In reality, the more blood reaching the muscles, tendons and ligaments, the better the elasticity of these tissues. This means better performance and reduced chance of injuries.
- Prepares the cardiovascular system for impending workload. Helps the heart and blood vessels adjust to the body's increased demands for blood and oxygen.
- Prepares muscles for impending workload. Warming up may reduce the likelihood of excessive muscle soreness.
Now you know the physical reasoning behind why experts stress warming up before exercise. And for a “bonus” eleventh reason—it mentally prepares you for the challenging task ahead, letting you “get your game on!”