Almost all of us have been in the situation where you moved too quickly or picked something up that you weren’t ready for. Warming up your body to be ready to move through free space is important, especially to avoid injury. Warming up helps reduce your risk of injury and the aches and pains that come with exercise. The physiological reason to warm up is to assist your circulatory system in pumping oxygen-rich blood to your working muscles.
A warm up is the act of preparing for an exercise, athletic performance, or any other movements during the day.
The warm up for your day can be as simple as sitting up in bed, hanging off the edge, point your toes up in front of you, and extend your leg out. This will start getting your legs moving. A nice morning stretch is also a great way to start off the day.
Benefits of a proper warm up.
- Gets the blood flowing – You will increase the movement of blood through your tissues, making the muscles more pliable.
- Increases Oxygen Delivery – You will have better endurance for longer periods of time while performing the activity you are preparing for. The delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles prevents you from getting short of breath too early or too easily.
- Prepares your muscles for stretching.
- Prepares your heart for an increase in activity, preventing a rapid increase in blood pressure.
- Prepares you mentally for the upcoming exercise.
- Primes your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise.
- Improves coordination and reaction times.
There are many ways to get your body warmed up. Let’s look at examples for your warm up before you exercise.
- Free Movement Warm Up: 5-15 minutes – I like the free movement warm up because it incorporates natural movements while engaging in total body awareness. This is the most optimal way to warm up to prepare for virtually anything. Find an open space and then begin with simple movements. The movement patterns must be adjusted based on your fitness level.
Bonus: To ramp up your warm ups you can add Squats, Jumps, Jumping Jacks, or Jump Rope
Machine Based Cardio Warm Up: 5-15 minutes – You will usually find a few options for cardio machines including: Treadmills (the walker), Cross-trainers (elliptical), Bicycles (Recumbent or Upright), Stair Steppers, and Rowers (like racing a boat in water). Take your pick. The goal here is to get moving and increase your resting heart rate to your heart rate training zone. You can add this warm up to the Free Movement Warm Up and before the Preset Warm Up.
- Preset Warm Up: This warm up will help get your body ready before performing your active working set. Perform 1-2 sets of the exercise at a lower weight at about 30%-40% of your max weight. Example: If your 1 rep max is 200 lbs your warm up weight will be around 60 lbs-80 lbs. Perform this with correct body mechanics (form) for 12-20 repetitions. This warm up can be added onto the Free Movement Warm Up and Cardio Warm Up.
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