Warming up, the great unknown

Warming up is fundamental. You have heard that hundreds of times but, sometimes, you just forget and don’t give it the importance it deserves. You should prepare your body to go from a resting to an active state.

Warming up should be a major part of any activity as it generates benefits for the physical exercise you intend to do. Obviously, your warm up depends on the type of activity you are going to do.

The need for a suitable warm up is based on the effects it produces. Effects at the:

Circulatory level

Increased heart rate and blood pressure rate.

An increase in blood flow per minute to your muscles.

Nervous system level

It helps and enhances the transmission of nervous stimuli, which improves coordination. As coordination improves, technical actions become easier.

Respiratory level

The respiratory rate is increased and the volume of air mobilised together with vasodilation improves and helps gas exchange.

Muscle level

The speed of muscle contraction increases and reaction time decreases.

The force of contraction increases.

Muscle elasticity is enhanced, thus helping to prevent injury.

Tendons and ligaments improve their elasticity.

Psychological level

The state of anxiety and initial tiredness diminishes.

Intrinsic motivation is reinforced.

Iñigo Agote - Warm up

A photo by Iñigo Agote @inigoagote

You are recommended to do a proper warming up session before doing any kind of physical activity. This will help you meet the following objectives:

– Adapt your body to do more intense activities.

– Help stimulation of the cardio-respiratory system.

– Reduce the risk of injury, in joints and muscles.

– Prepare the person doing sports psychologically for the activity, improving their attention and concentration.

And now that you know the objectives of warming up, it’s time for action.

IVYHEALTH offers 8 basic guidelines for doing a proper warm-up:

○ The warm-up must be progressive. Raise the intensity and end up with intense work periods (never reach a state of over-tiredness or muscle failure).

○ Include muscle elasticity and joint mobility exercises. To improve elasticity, you are recommended to do dynamic exercises.

○ Remember that warming up should not make you tired.

○ You should start with general, and end up with specific exercises.

○ It is very important to keep hydrated during exercise, particularly in summer or when the temperature is high.

Breathe correctly. It is key to doing the physical exercise properly.

○ Don’t concentrate on just one muscle group. Do exercises involving several muscle groups.

Plan your warm-up in advance and try to include the muscle groups you intend to cover in your routine.

Follow these basic guidelines. But, above all, remember how important it is to devote several minutes to warming up properly. Make your warm-up session a habit. Personalise it to suit your tastes or needs and you will see the improvement. Share with us your experience with warming up or any doubts you may have. We would be delighted to hear about them!