We all lead busy lives. As a result, there’s always a temptation to cut a corner here or there and skip our warm up before exercising. We’ve been working as physios long enough to know how damaging this can be, causing so many preventable injuries in our clients.
Warming up has extremely well defined physical and psychological benefits, which is why it’s so vital to stop skipping the warm up and make it a central part of your workout plan.
Preventing Injury Starts with a Warm Up
Any physio will stress the importance of a warm up to help prevent injury during exercise – and we aren’t just making it up. Getting your muscles loose and warm will help keep annoying injuries like hamstring pulls at bay, while preventing overuse injuries by allowing the body to prepare slowly and safely.
How a Warm Up Works
A good warm up will prepare the body for exercise by gradually increasing heart rate and circulation. This loosens the joints and increases blood flow to the muscles. It’s our way of telling our body we’re about to start using these muscles, so divert energy to them. A less obvious benefit of a warm up is the opportunity to mentally prepare for the activity ahead. As anyone who watches teams warming up before a sport knows, the warm up can be used to practice skills and team drills while also getting loose and limber.
How Long Should a Warm Up Last?
The answer is – it depends. Most warm up sessions will last between 20 minutes and a half hour. This is the optimal time to incorporate cardiovascular exercises, stretching and strength drills. The make up of the warm up will depend greatly on the activity in question. Warming up to squat heavy weights should look a lot different to warming up for a jog in the park. Think of the muscles you’re going to use and how you can effectively warm them up when planning your routine.
Ready to Help
Whether you need help with injury, or are looking to put together a killer workout program, VanCity Physio is standing by to assist. To find out more, or book an appointment, contact us and we’ll be happy to help.