Warm-up is about a sequence of exercising drills to prepare the athlete both psychologically and physically. It precedes the main training which is a more intense and demanding procedure.
The 9 benefits of warm-up
- Increase in blood flow and metabolism
- Increase in body temperature
- Increased oxygen intake because of the gradual increase in the heart rate
- Optimized ability to perform
- Increased muscle elasticity while the resistance of the connective tissue is decreased
- The transmission of nerve impulses is conducted rapidly
- Reduced muscle tension
- Willingness to exercise is intensified
- The body adapts to harsh weather conditions more easily
Moreover, the chances of an injury are reduced considerably and muscle efficiency is enhanced since faster and more intense muscle contraction is achieved. Aerobic capacity is boosted, muscle coordination is improved, the body adapts to weather conditions and there is a positive attitude towards exercising.
It has been observed that through warming up our body temperature is likely to increase up to 2 C degrees. For this reason, it is necessary that warm-up should not exhaust the athlete. The body temperature must not fall, a fact which occurs very often, when we take a break for water or static stretching.
Warm-up is divided into two categories:a)general b)special
With general warm-up, we trigger the big muscle groups in order to gather large quantities of blood to them.
With special warm-up we execute preparatory exercises which, somehow emulate those about to follow in order to fully prepare the body areas where most of our effort is to be put.
Its duration depends on various factors. The most important ones are as follows:
- type of training
- level of the athlete’s physical condition and
- weather conditions
All things considered, there isn’t a specific time frame for warming up. Surely, one commonly acceptable indication, but not a decisive one, that the body is prepared for the next stage is sweating.
The intensity of a warm-up is better to increase gradually. It should start in low levels. In this way, injuries can be avoided while less strain is put on the joints, the muscles and the vascular system. As a result, proper analogy between intensity and duration can help maximize the benefits of warming up.
Another integral part of the warm-up is stretching. But to get the maximum benefits, we need to execute the appropriate type of stretching in the right moment of the warm-up with the proper time and correct technique. Similarly, the parameters affecting the abovementioned conditions are time and type of exercise that will follow, age and fitness level of the trainee and weather conditions. Studies have shown that if wrong stretching is selected, there are chances of a negative impact which will result in a poor performance
In any case, we must be extremely cautious when we do stretching exercises without warming up because our muscles and joints are stiff and therefore, prone to injuries and more difficult to work with.
Keep in mind that there are different massage techniques such as the myofascial one or sports massage, which are implemented before every training and help hypertonic areas relax. As a result, they contribute to the proper function of the neuromuscular system.
Also, there are other techniques which stimulate the nervous system, help blood circulation and bring positive results in exercising. The result of a massage is defined by duration, intensity, speed and technique.
However, it is better if an expert carries it out so as to avoid any undesirable effects. In specific, stimulation of the parasympathetic system, muscle loosening and unwillingness to exercise might be caused.
To sum up, warm-up is necessary and concerns every age, group, body type and gender. It is very important to remember that it is not only for professional athletes. It is about all those who have taken up sports. Therefore, it should be carried out by everyone before and after each training at a simple or intense pace.
What is interesting is that more and more companies abroad use a brief warm-up program for their employees because research has shown that they become more productive and sick leave has been reduced.