Warm up to exercise
Monday, April 11, 2022
You’ve made a commitment to being more active. Good! Now let’s say you decide to go for a brisk walk. You’re probably thinking “Walking is not strenuous, so I don’t need to warm up or stretch.” You’re not alone in that line of thinking, but here’s why it’s always a good idea to warm up and stretch before any level of physical activity.
When you warm up with some easy activities like waking in place, stretching or even taking a slow stroll, here is what happens to your body:
Your joints become more flexible, heading off potential orthopedic issues.
Your muscles work better as they warm up.
Your heart rate goes up, but because it does so slowly, there is less stress placed on your heart.
The blood supply to your muscles is increased, making them work more efficiently.
Your blood also releases more oxygen, which helps you during your exercise.
The type of warming up you should do depends on a lot of factors, like your physical condition and what you plan to do for exercise. The main point to remember is that your warm-up should start slowly and build in intensity to a level that doesn’t tire you too much or overwork your body.
Most experts recommend stretching as part of any warm-up routine. Activities like stretching and low-intensity walking are examples of active warm-ups. You can also use some passive warm-ups like getting in a sauna for a few minutes. Passive warmups can provide some benefits like raising your body temperature, but they don’t give you all the benefits you get with active warm-ups.
Warming up and preventing injuries
Warming up before exercising isn’t a guarantee that you won’t get injured during your exercise, but it can help to prevent some injuries. It only takes a few minutes – typically 10 minutes is recommended – so it would be wise to consider warming up.
Before you start any exercise program, it’s best to talk with your primary care doctor for recommendations on a program that’s right for you.
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