People are constantly encouraged to warm up before commencing any physical activity. Although the common reasons behind a warm up are usually to “increase blood flow” or “loosen up the joints”, the real reason behind warming up is a lot more impactful than this.
Warming up has been found to have an effect on the body’s cellular energy, ATP. Warming up initiates a string of internal changes in your body. ATP or adenosine triphosphate, is a molecular unit that your body uses to transport energy within the cells. When you do a warm up like jumping rope or jogging, you tend to increase your body temperature. This incidentally also increases the rate at which ATP is broken down in the body, resulting in the availability of more energy. This means that you’ll not only have more energy but your nerve conduction and muscle contraction velocity will also increase. Your muscles and tendons will become more flexible and hence less prone to injuries. Warming up is simply put, the wake-up call your body needs to be up and ready for action. Your warm up is your body’s alarm.
Warming up regularly before a workout is as much a matter of habit as the workout itself. Those who serious make it a point to incorporate it even in the shortest of sessions, chiefly because it helps maintain the quality of their exercise. It’s important to see your warm-up not as something separate from your actual workout, but as a way to ease in and maximize your performance.
Warm-ups keep you from burning out too early; in a way, they prepare your body, legs and mind for the workout ahead. From the physiological point of view, a good pre-run warm up makes the workout that much sweeter.
Energy and vitality
Hormones that are responsible for regulating energy production in your body are released more rapidly during warm-up. But they will also help in setting the mood for your workout. Those 10-15 minutes of stretches and jogs are a good way to fire up your mind and prepare for the run, walk or day at the gym. Clear your mind, focus on the workout.
Warm-ups increase the temperatures of the muscles that will eventually be used while going through your training routine, by making them contract more forcefully and relax faster. This eventually helps in improving your speed and strength, reflexes, and reduces the chances of overstretching a muscle. A good warm-up maintains and builds elasticity in your muscles, reducing stiffness and and increasing the flex range. and the range of motion around a joint.
An important benefit of warming up is that it dilates your blood vessels and reduces your heart’s resistance to the increased blood flow – thus lowering stress on the heart. By warming up, you activate your sweat glands even before you’ve started the workout which leads to efficient cooling throughout your workout, and keeps your body in that moderate temperature zone where it performs the best. All in all it leads to more efficient blood circulation to the vitals as well, making you feel re-energized.
It’s important that the level of your warm up matches the effort you intend to spend on your workout. So your warm up gets more and more important and intense as you progress and the time you spend on warming up may be a lot longer than when you started out.