Everyone knows the benefits of regular exercise, but it is important that people make sure that they warm up before any kind of exercise in order to prevent injury. Many people do not take the time to warm up and this is dangerous, particularly as you get older.
The Benefits of Warming Up
Warming up is, essentially, exercising at a lower intensity and slower pace before getting started with the main form of exercise. This can include a light job, cycling slowly and/or stretching. Warming up before launching into moderate or intense exercise is beneficial because it increases blood flow to your muscles and prepares your cardiovascular system for exercise. This also means that your muscles will be prepared for the strain that they will be put under, which will reduce the chance of injury and improve performance.
Why You Should Also Cool Down
Warming up is important, but you should not forget to cool down after exercise either. This is so that you can gradually reduce your heart rate, help your muscles to return to optimal length and prevent soreness the next day. Cooling down is similar to warming up in that it should involve exercising at a slower and less intense pace with jogging/walking and stretching being effective ways to cool down. In particular, back pain is common if you do not cool down properly, especially after heavy lifting. Back injuries can be severe, long term and impact your qualify of life and often require treatment from a specialist.
How Warming Up Prevents Injury
Warming up is key to injury prevention as it stops your body from going from 0-60 straight away and putting a huge strain on your muscles and joints. A light intensity warm-up also increases the temperature which will enhance the amount of oxygen in the muscle, which helps to increase the amount of energy that the muscle can produce. If you do not warm up properly, you will find that your body will wear out and you will suffer from muscle soreness and injury. You should spend between 5 and 10 minutes warming up and cooling down with any kind of exercise and this should make a big difference to your fitness and health over time.
Exercise is hugely important for our health and wellbeing, but you must always warm up properly prior to exercise to get your body ready for the strain that you will put it under and to prevent injury and soreness the next day.
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