It goes without saying that warming up before exercising is essential to ensure you are ready to tackle your workout. Warming up not only helps to prepare your body for exercise, but it also increases your heart rate, loosens your muscles and increases your overall body temperature.
When your blood flow increases, it escalates the amount of oxygen being delivered to your muscles, which is vital for athletes to reach their peak performance. So, why is this so important? First, we need to understand why our muscles need oxygen to recover optimally.
Increasing oxygen supply for muscle recovery
Our muscles need additional oxygen during exercise as it helps to remove metabolic waste and repair muscle fibres. During exercise, the body produces lactic acid, which is a metabolic waste product that can build up in the muscle tissue and cause fatigue. You may often experience a build-up of lactic acid when you don’t stretch before and after your sessions, leaving you sore the following days after exercise.
Therefore, when you warm up, the body increases the amount of oxygen delivered to the muscles, which can help to break down the lactic acid, allowing the body to recover more effectively.
In addition to this, oxygen is also important for repairing muscle fibres, as it helps to promote the regeneration of the muscles. Without the additional oxygen, the muscle fibres would not be able to repair themselves, leading to decreased performance and potential injury.
What exercises should I perform when warming up?
When warming up, it’s important to focus on dynamic exercises that mimic the movements that you’ll be doing in your workout. For example, if you’re planning a strength-training workout, you’ll want to focus on dynamic exercises such as arm circles, squats, and lunges to warm up those muscles. However, when performing cardio-based workouts, you should focus on exercises, such as jogging, jumping jacks, and high knees.
It’s important to take your time when warming up – don’t rush it! Taking the time to warm up properly will help you to get the most out of your workout and reduce the risk of injury.