Why To Warm Up Before Exercise

Why To Warm Up Before Exercise

A muscle is like a car. If you want it to run well early in the morning, you have to warm it up – Florence Griffith Joyner (Olympic 100 meter world record)

Any exercise or physical activity starts with a good warm up. When a person starts doing any physical activity they try to attain their goal and improve it. To reach the goal they need to exceed from their limit level and to reach out to the next level. Human body needs a preparation which can be a preferred form of exercise which prepares the muscle joints and bones for a large amount of exercises.

Good warm up is essential to limit the chances of injury which helps to maintain the self confidence and interest in physical activity.
Warm up is nothing but a low-level activity in which a human body prepares itself for the further exercising and stretching as well as weight lifting. A warm up should be completed prior to stretching and more strenuous exercises.

Reasons to warm up-
• Warm up increases movement of blood through tissues making muscle more flexible.
• Delivers the oxygen and nutrient to your muscle.
• Prepare the muscle for stretching and prepare your heart for increased activity by preventing a rapid increase in blood pressure.
• Prepare the body for high intensity exercise by increasing body temperature, metabolism and blood circulation so that more oxygen is more available to increase muscle activity.
• Increased temperature helps to increase the rate of energy production contraction and relax time or improve with higher muscle temperature.
• Warm up can help to reduce muscle soreness post exercise.
• Warm up prepares the nervous system by mimicking sport specific movements.

A perfect Warm up routine consists of-
• General warm up
• Stretching
• Sport Specific warm up

General warm up
By warming up before exercise you increase blood flow to muscle and other soft tissue which is an important factor in avoiding damage to the ligament muscle joint and tendons. General form of warm up should include 5 to 10 minutes of light cardiovascular activity such as fast walking or slow jogging to increase your heart rate gradually, promote blood flow to your muscle and supply them with more oxygen.

Stretching can be of two types dynamic and static. Dynamic stretching is ideal prior to exercise to prepare the joint for movement and muscle for optimal activation where as static sustained stretches are designed to hold a position for a joint and muscle that is minimally challenging. Stretches can be effective to improve overall flexibility, which can allow you to move more freely and effectively.

Sports specific warm up
By doing sports specific warm up you properly prepare your muscle and increases your mobility. It stimulates competition action and intensity in order to start the competition in the highest level.
For example before start running take a slow jog, a gentle cycle for a spin class or a slow swim before building up speed in a pool.

Warm up varies with sports and activity for eg. a 100m sprint needs 20 minutes of warm up. The sprint time was significantly better when performing after a specific warm up as compared to a general warm up. The rate of the perceived exertion was significantly lower during the specific short warm up. Research has also shown that warm up has a positive effect on the swimmers performance especially for distance greater than 200 m. We recommend that swimmer warm-up for a relatively moderate distance (between 1,000 and 1,500 m) with a proper intensity (a brief approach to race pace velocity) and recovery time sufficient to prevent the early onset of fatigue and to allows the Restoration of energy reserves (8 -20 minutes), Neiva HP et all.

Few of the sports and the joint to be focused while doing their Warm ups are mentioned herein:-
Tennis and Badminton
Shoulder hip and knee injuries are very common among tennis and badminton player. These sports include the movement of high step up, multi direction lunges, and multidirectional arm range of motion for service and multiple shots e.g. forehand/backhand etc.

A small set of specific warming which can be done by a tennis and badminton players will be a
• Lunge walk.
• Buttock kicks.
• Jumping high from side to side
• Rotating your torso from side to side.

In a research study by Maloney SJ, Turner AN et al it was shown that warm up may improve power performance in a badminton player. Examination shows the effect of dynamic warm up on change of direction speed (CODS). Vertical jump and CODS were tested post warm up. In conclusion the study demonstrated that post warm up CODS, was significantly faster. In addition peak CODS test performance was faster then the control condition.

Knee ankle and foot injuries are common amongst runner. In addition to your cardiovascular warm up you should also add
• Lunge walk
• Buttock kick
• Controlled leg swings
• Fast feet.
• Stretching for calf, hamstrings and quadriceps.

Knee and low back problems are common among cyclist. Before you start biking, do try the following:-
• The spot jump from side to side
• lunge forward and back
• Both knee to chest lying on the floor.
• Slow paddling movement with your legs.

In a research study, Abad CC, Prado ML et all have proved the general and specific warm up improves the performance maximum 1RM compared with specific warm up in trained individual.

At Ability Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic, we can help you with a suitable warm up prescription and advice which will help you stay injury free.