I’m guessing I’m not alone if I admit I’ve been known to skip a warm-up before exercise. Sometimes we’re just trying to get it done. Maybe it’s before work, during the lunch hour, amid the hustle-and-bustle of family life, or at the end of an already busy day. Whatever the case, it can be tempting to skip the warm-up and just get it done. Still, there some are very good reasons why we should warm up.
Valid and valuable reasons to warm up
- Warming up gradually raises your body temperature and increases blood flow to your muscles. This helps open up your blood vessels, ensuring your muscles are well supplied with oxygen and other nutrients needed for performance. 1
- Warming up increases the flow of synovial fluid around your joints, which lubricates them, and allows them to move more freely. It also improves the elasticity of your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which can help you safely improve your range of motion.1,2
- Warming up increases the speed that signals travel through your nerves, which can improve your overall motor control, balance, coordination, and the perception of where your body is in space.1,2
- Warming up allows your heart rate (and breathing) to increase gradually minimizing stress on the heart. 3,4
All of these factors can help prepare your body to perform both safely and optimally. So, the next time you think about skipping that warm-up – consider the benefits of peak performance and injury prevention and take a few minutes to warm up. Your body will thank you.
- Shellock F.G., Prentice W.E. (1985). Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance and prevention of sports-related injuries. Sports Medicine. 2(4):267-278. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-198502040-00004
- Kozai, A, Surgenor, B. (2017). The importance of a good warm-up: Are you warm enough to start dancing. International Association for Dance Medicine & Science. https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.iadms.org/resource/resmgr/resource_papers/warm-up-importance.pdf; https://www.iadms.org/blogpost/1177934/272128/Are-You-Warm-Enough-to-Start-Dancing
- Sharma, N., Shah, S.H. (2019). Physiological and Psychological Effects of Warm Up and Cool Down in Games and Sports. International Journal of Physical Education & Sports Sciences. 14(1):60-63. DOI: 10.29070/IJOPESS
- McArdle, W.D., Katch, F.I., Katch, V.L. (2006). Factors affecting physiological function: The environment and special aids to physical performance. In Essentials of Exercise Physiology (3rd)(pp 512-557). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins. https://books.google.com.au/books?id=L4aZIDbmV3oC&lpg=PR1&dq=essentials%20of%20exercise%20physiology&pg=PA550#v=onepage&q&f=false