A well-rounded exercise program consists of warm-up as an important component. It is intended to literally warm up the exercising muscles so as to prepare for the upcoming work-out. It is an essential part because it allows the body to gradually transit from the resting state to the higher demands (biomechanical, physiological, bio energetic) of the exercise. The heart rate, breathing rate and core body temperature gradually (and not suddenly) increases, preparing the body and system for physical activity.
Benefits of a warm-up
1. Prevents any potential injury to muscles or joints during the work-out
2. Enhances the range of motion (ROM) of the joints
3. Enhances muscle performance by accelerating metabolism and decreasing muscle resistance
4. Enhances oxygen supply and blood flow to the heart muscle as well as the skeletal muscles
5. Reduces muscle soreness post work-out
The basic components of a good warm-up-
1. Duration- Should be of at least 5-10 minutes
2. Intensity- low to moderate intensity
3. Mode- Cardio activities like slow walking, slow jog, cycling etc. and muscle endurance activities like shoulder circles, neck rotation etc.
The most important principle of a warm up- SPECIFICITY
Warm-up is always specific to the exercise, mimicking the movement that will be performed in the subsequent work-out.
For example, if your exercise session consists of brisk walking, then a slow walk would be an ideal warmup for you. Similarly, brisk walking serves as an appropriate warm-up for those who jog during their active exercise session. Low intensity jabs, punches and kicks are performed as warm-up movements before a kickboxing class, and few rounds of Surya namaskars open up the body for the upcoming challenging asanas in a yoga class.
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