The importance of 'warm up'

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

A good warm up before exercising is very much like starting up your car in the harsh winters. You need to rev the engine up a bit before you can push down the accelerator, so is the case with warming up too.

Exercising pulls the muscles to a great extent and makes our heart beat faster. Warming up before you start exercising helps prepare the body mentally and physically.

A few minutes of stretching exercises before you start your workout is immensely helpful. It prepares your muscle for the strains ahead and helps it to recover better.

A warm up consists of a gradual increase in intensity in physical activity and stretching, followed by the activity. Warming up brings the body to a condition at which it safely responds to nerve signals for quick and efficient action.

It is important that the warm up is specific to the exercises that will follow, so that the right muscles are stretched and activated.

Warm up has direct physical effects:

  1. It releases adrenaline.
  2. It increases the heart rate.
  3. It enables oxygen in the blood to travel to the muscles with greater speed.
  4. It increases the production of synovial fluid. This is the fluid that is present between the joints that help in
  5. friction-free movement of the joints.
  6. It improves the extensibility and elasticity of the muscle fibers.
  7. It increases the muscle metabolism and supplies energy by breaking down the glycogen.
  8. It helps remove the harmful lactic acid that builds up in the muscles after a workout.

A low impact exercise like stretching, biking, or using the elliptical is the best way to warm up before your workout.