All About Warming Up

image description Photo Credit: James B Brooke

What is Warming Up? 

Warming up prepares the body for more intense movement and activity. It literally “warms up” the body by raising the core body temperature. Warm-up movements can consist of walking, light jogging, stretch and hold, or stretching while moving (e.g. lunges for hip flexibility).

Why Warming Up is Important

Not warming up before exercising can lead to poor mobility/flexibility, injuries, and stiffness as you age. By increasing your flexibility and strengthening the joint muscles, you can prevent injury and aging effects.

  • •Mobility: ability to produce a desired movement
    • Example: bicep curl, push up, kicking a soccer ball, etc.
  • Flexibility: capacity of a joint to move freely through a full range of motion
    • Example: arm flexion and extension, arm rotation, hip extension, etc. 
What You Should Know

There are two types of stretching exercises:

  • Static: moving into a position and briefly holding it; stretch and hold. Example: touching your toes and hold for 30 seconds
  • Dynamic: stretching while moving or moving against a light resistance.  Example: jumping, walking lunges, tipping your head side to side, etc.  
Many people do static stretching exercises before a workout. Although static stretching can improve flexibility, doing it before an exercise can lower performance and cause injury. Doing dynamic stretch exercises can improve range of motion and power at the joint. That type of warm-up creates minimal (to no) muscle damage. Check this webpage and video for more info: greatist.com/fitness/full-body-dynamic-warm-up

Summary and Recommendations

Consider your warm-up period a very important part of your workout. It will make you stronger and improve your body control, balance, movement, and agility. Do dynamic stretches before a workout to prevent injury. When you cool down, you can do static stretches to increase flexibility. Find a warm-up routine that works best for you and stick with it!

Resources

Special Thanks:
Derek Chang graduated with a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Utah. Go Utes! He was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He aspires to become a physician-entrepreneur to find and create new ways of improving overall patient health. He enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, reading books, meeting new people, and learning anything new.

 

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