Why should you warm up before exercise?

by Nordic Training Gear 3 min read

Warming up is a fundamental part of a workout routine and plays a crucial role in preparing the body for physical exertion and reducing the risk of injury. In this article, we will explore the scientific research behind the importance of warming up and provide practical advice on how to warm up effectively.

The Science Behind Warming Up

Research has shown that warming up before exercise provides several physiological benefits that contribute to improved performance and reduced risk of injury (1, 2).
  1. Increased blood flow to the muscles: Warming up raises heart rate and increases blood flow to the working muscles, ensuring they receive more oxygen and nutrients (1). This improves muscle endurance and performance during exercise.
  2. Improved mobility and flexibility: Warming up helps raise the temperature in the muscles, making them more pliable and elastic (2). This reduces the risk of muscle strains and other injuries that can occur with sudden movements or exertion.
  3. Activation of the nervous system: Warming up activates the central nervous system, enhancing neuromuscular coordination and reaction speed (3). This can be particularly important for athletes participating in fast-paced and agility-demanding sports.
Why should you warm up before exercise?

Practical Advice for Warming Up

An effective warm-up should include the following components:
  1. Aerobic activity: Start with 5-10 minutes of low-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, light jogging, or cycling. This helps increase heart rate and blood flow to the muscles (4).
  2. Dynamic stretching: After the aerobic activity, perform dynamic stretching to improve the mobility and flexibility of muscles and joints (5). Dynamic stretching involves active movements that simulate sport or exercise-related motions, such as high knee lifts, leg swings, or arm circles.
  3. Sport- or activity-specific exercises: Conclude the warm-up with exercises specific to the sport or activity you are about to perform. This helps prepare the body for the movements and stresses that will be required during the workout (6).

Conclusion

Warming up before exercise is crucial for preparing the body for physical exertion, improving performance, and reducing the risk of injury. Research supports the use of a combination of aerobic activity, dynamic stretching, and sport- or activity-specific exercises to achieve optimal results. By incorporating these components into your warm-up routine, you can train safely and effectively and get the most out of your workouts. Contact us at NTGear for further advice or check out all our products that can help you enhance your training and achieve your goals.

References:
  1. Fradkin, A. J., Zazryn, T. R., & Smoliga, A. (2010). Effects of warming-up on physical performance: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(1), 140-148. Link.
  2. Woods, K., Bishop, P., & Jones, E. (2007). Warm-up and stretching in the prevention of muscular injury. Sports Medicine, 37(12), 1089-1099. Link.
  3. Kilduff, L. P., Bevan, H. R., Kingsley, M. I., Owen, N. J., Bennett, M. A., Bunce, P. J., ... & Cunningham, D. J. (2007). Postactivation potentiation in professional rugby players: optimal recovery. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 21(4), 1134-1138. Link.
  4. McGowan, C. J., Pyne, D. B., Thompson, K. G., & Rattray, B. (2015). Warm-up strategies for sport and exercise: Mechanisms and applications. Sports Medicine, 45(11), 1523-1546. Link.
  5. Behm, D. G., & Chaouachi, A. (2011). A review of the acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on performance. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 111(11), 2633-2651. Link.
  6. Bishop, D. (2003). Warm-up II: Performance changes following active warm-up and how to structure the warm-up. Sports Medicine, 33(7), 483-498. Link.
Nordic Training Gear
Max Andrén
Writer & Co-Owner

Max Andrén is a writer and co-owner of Nordic Training Gear
He has a great passion for gym training and training accessories



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