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A warm-up is a healthy and important transition from rest to active exercise. The need for an appropriate warm-up is demonstrated at every level of sport, and, according to research, is one of the key ways to prevent muscular injury during exercise. A proper warm-up will safely support your cardiovascular system.

A proper warm-up will safely support your cardiovascular system.

Here’s are the five top reasons why warming up prior to exercise is beneficial:

1. Mental Preparation

Warming up allows your body to mentally prepare for the activity or sport you are going to perform. It’s a great time to transition not only your body, but also your mind from a state of rest to being more active. Whether you are lifting weights or running a 5K, mental preparation helps you to better focus on the activity.

2. Warmer Muscles

At rest, our joints and muscles are relatively cool compared to during exercise. Gradually warming up allows our body to move more efficiently and be more flexible. Warm muscles can perform faster, safer and with more force than cooler muscles. A warmer body can also help us to be more flexible, which can prevent unwanted muscles strains.

3. More Blood, Less Resistance

When we are at rest, our heart rate and blood pressure are at a normal resting level. When we begin exercise, there is an increased demand for blood flow to the muscles, lungs and heart. This increase in blood flow occurs as our blood vessels dilate and allow more blood to flow where it’s needed. This dilation happens during the warm up phase and decreases the resistance in our body, allowing our heart to pump more blood with less resistance. This decreases the stress on the heart during the early stages of exercise while allowing it to work more efficiently.

4. Better Sweat Response

Sweat is our bodies’ natural response to increasing body temperature during exercise; it’s the way our bodies maintain a safe temperature and adapt during most exercise conditions. Warming up allows our body to slowly engage the sweat response and keep it up to speed with the intensity of exercise we do.

5. Improved Focus

Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program participants do yoga for the purposes of stretching, calming and bringing awareness to the body. Yoga postures can be used as part of a gradual warm up, which helps to bring your attention to the body, how you feel, and slowly promote movement and stretching as a way to ease into higher intensity sports or activities.

What benefits do you experience from warming up before exercising?

Contributed by

Phil Hardesty
Exercise Physiologist

Have a healthy, happy and fit week!!

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