Seasoned athletes and sports people know the value of warming up before training or taking part in their chosen activities, but for many of those who are new to exercising, the warm-up is often seen as a dispensable part of the process. Only when they find themselves suffering from the effects of pulled muscles and ligaments or worse do they understand why trainers always advise that people warm up first.
Moving from an “at rest” state to one of physical activity brings about certain changes in the body, and going straight from one to the other not only puts certain parts at risk, but it also makes for a much less efficient workout. Here is how a warm-up not only keeps you safe, but also ensures that you get maximum benefit from your activity:
- Increased body temperature and muscle temperature improves muscle elasticity and range of motion, which means less chance of strained or pulled muscles and greater efficiency in terms of muscle strength and speed.
- The dilation of blood vessels causes less strain on the heart, as blood flows more easily.
- Increased blood temperature means more oxygen in the bloodstream being supplied to the muscles and increased endurance.
- Increased levels of energy-regulating hormones leads to more fatty acids and carbohydrates being available to produce energy.
- By kicking off the body’s cooling mechanism early, you are less likely to become overheated during the early stages of the primary activity.
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