Before every class and every S.W.E.A.T. event, at least one of the instructors leads the group in a warm-up. We all follow along, because we know that’s what we are supposed to do. But does everyone know why it’s import to warm up your body or stretch before exercising? If not, keep reading and I’ll let you in on a few reasons. (And no it’s not just to get warm in the freezing studio.) 😉
Warming up is the most important thing to do before your work out. Warming up helps prevent injury, gets your heart rate up gradually and gets your blood flowing.
So you are wondering: how exactly a short warm up of running in place, jumping around and stretching, like we do in class, can help prevent injury?
To explain this, I’m going to steal a metaphor from Steve at Nerd Fitness. According to Steve, our muscles are like rubber bands. If you sit at your desk all day not using your muscles, then like rubber bands they become tight and constricted. Add cold weather to the mix and your muscles become super tight, almost brittle. If you arrive at the gym or the studio and immediately start sprinting on the treadmill or lifting weights, those muscles are going to get pulled or torn.
Warming up your muscles by gradually moving around, squatting, lunging, stretching and eventually jumping will get your muscles warm, loose and active.
It also helps get your blood circulating faster, which helps your performance when you start your actual workout. Increasing blood circulation through your muscles, tendons and ligaments will give them a chance to prepare to work together. Your heart rate increases gradually. Your muscles warm up to prevent injury. Your ligaments and tendons become more flexible, reducing the chance of tears.
Our instructors have been teaching fitness classes for years. They know how to lead us in a great work out, how to motivate us when we are having a bad day and most importantly, they know how to help prevent injury.
Do yourself a favor, if you are coming to class, arrive in time to join the warm up and if you need to, stretch while you are waiting for class to start. If you are heading to the gym, warm up before you hit the treadmill.
Information for this post came from Nerd Fitness and Fitday.