When you have to work out but are pressed for time, skipping the warm-up seems reasonable. But little did you know that those few extra minutes you spend warming up are very important both for your performance and overall health. As marathon season is just around the corner, it helps to know why warming up can significantly improve your run and keep you fit and healthy longer. Below, we will outline the benefits of a good warm-up and the risks that come with skipping it. It will also detail some tips on warming up before a run.
Better level of performance
A recent study found that 75% of runners don’t bother to warm up before a run. However, warming up can significantly improve overall performance. When we warm up, our blood temperature increases, making oxygen more readily available for working muscles. You’re also increasing hormones that help regulate energy, and this balance of hormones makes more carbohydrates and fatty acids available for energy production. These factors may improve endurance for aerobic activities. Moreover, warming up helps increase your range of motion, allowing joints like your shoulders and knees to reach their maximum potential in terms of movement. From a psychological standpoint, warming up also gives you a chance to mentally prepare, helping you clear your mind and focus, especially if you’re competing in a race.
Less prone to injuries and overheating
Warm-ups prepare your heart, lungs, and muscles for any strenuous activity ahead. When you warm up, your muscle temperature increases. Warm muscles contract more forcefully and relax faster, which reduces the risk of overstretching a muscle or getting an injury while you exercise.
Your blood vessels also dilate when you warm up which increases blood flow and puts less strain on the heart. By activating the heat-dissipation mechanisms in your body by warming up, you’re also helping your body cool efficiently during physical activities which prevents overheating. This is especially important for strenuous aerobic activities like competing in a marathon or a cycling race.
A study by Dr. Messier et al. showed how 66% of the 300 regular runners who entered the study sustained at least one injury in the span of six months. With rates as high as that, making sure you’re decreasing your health and injury risks through warming up is particularly important. This is especially true for seniors who have conditions such as arthritis. Exercise is vital for good joint health, but Mayo Clinic advises that warming up properly is just as important. This will improve the range of motion during exercise and help reduce any pain. With Maryville University explaining how the number of US adults with chronic illnesses is predicted to rise to almost half the population by 2025, there will be a strain on places that will be able to treat conditions such as arthritis. A proper warm-up will not only help seniors manage pain much better, but it will also help those who exercise regularly reduce the chances of arthritis and other joint-related chronic conditions. This will then reduce the chances of a joint-related hospital visit in the future.
Dynamic warm-ups are key
Dynamic warm-ups are key in facilitating the best effects of a warm-up because they activate the body by stimulating the level of physical activity needed. The International Journal of Sports and Exercise Medicine found that foam rolling can work as an alternative to dynamic stretching during an active warm-up. The Classic 18” Tiger Tail Hand-Held Foam Roller will allow you to warm up by zoning in on specific areas of your body that will need activation during your run like your hamstrings, quads, and calves. The best part is you can control the amount of pressure you think your body needs to warm up effectively. Those who are having difficulty with active warm-ups should try foam rolling as an effective alternative that garners the same positive results.