Warming-up prior to an exercise session or sporting event is crucial. As with any form of exercise prescription the warm up needs to be unique to the individual and their situation. An effective warm up has a plethora of benefits that allow you to get the most out of your exercise session. Whether you are warming up for a 200kg squat, walking, netball game or a home exercise session, there a certain principals that you need to keep in mind.
Why Warm Up?
Firstly, as mentioned, a warm up needs to be specific. When warming up for a home exercise session we need to consider what we want to get out of our warm up:
1. Mentally and physically prepared to exercise.
2. Reduce risk of injury.
3. Ensure we get the most out of our home exercise session.
To ensure we achieve all three steps we need to literally warm our body up e.g., increase our body temperature. This can be achieved by completing at least 5 minutes (or as much as you can tolerate) of aerobic exercise.
At home, aerobic exercise can be in the form of walking on the spot or down the hallway, punching / boxing the air or if you’re lucky enough, using a piece of cardio equipment such as a rowing machine, bike or treadmill. Warm ups can also include light dynamic stretches or specific activation exercises to ensure the right muscles are working during your bigger movements.
What exactly do we get out of warming up and increasing our body temperature?
Executing an efficient warm up starts multiple processes within our body that result in, but are not limited to:
- Increased heart rate and thus blood flow
- Increase respiration or breathing rate
- Reduced viscosity of joint fluids – rather than our joint fluid being thick like honey it becomes smooth like oil, like giving an old door a spray of WD40