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Why You Should Always Warm Up

 

In summer, the difference of being warm and warming up are not always obvious. The sweat pouring down your face doesn’t mean your muscles are warm, but is more likely caused by stress to the new environment, stepping outside into the humidity after being in air conditioning all day, or the movement of a new exercise. 

Make sure you set yourself up for success and stay injury-free by warming up effectively during the warmer months of the year. A thorough warm-up should be vigorous enough causing you to sweat without becoming out of breath. It should consist of stretching, walking, jogging or simply doing a range of exercises that incorporates the major muscle groups which you will be using in your workout or sport game. 

Most of us warm up to prevent the obvious injuries of a sprain, strain, or pulled muscle, however, a gradual warm up will also: 

 

Promote Circulation 

During a warm-up, your blood flow increases to the muscles and decreases to the digestive organs. When your skin starts to warm and perspire, it means you blood flow has increased. Your blood circulation and increased breathing rate stabilises after 3-6 minutes of constant muscle activity. For this reason, your warm up should continue for approximately 10 minutes. 

 

Lubricate the Joints 

When you move, the volume of fluid and thickness of cartilage in the joint increases, which improves the joints ability to absorb shock and prevent direct wear and tear on the bones. Movement of the joints also increases the blood flow which causes elasticity in the joints surrounding tissue. This transition occurs within 10 minutes of starting the movement. 

 

Increase Flexibility 

A warm up should entail an identical range of movement to the exercise which you are about to perform. For example, if you are about to complete front squats with a loaded weight bar, move through 20 repetitions of body squats, without weight, during your warm up. This will stretch the muscle properly and increase your flexibility, preventing a pull of any muscle that is about to be used. 

 

Warm the Major Muscle Groups 

Warming up with a slight jog before you exercise or play sport will increase blood flow to the major muscle groups. In turn, you will experience decreased muscle stiffness and therefore less risk of injury. 

 

Help You Concentrate 

Lack of concentration because of tiredness or stress increases the risk of injuries. A gradual warm up will help you concentrate and get in the mind set for exercise, improving the interplay between the contracting muscles and the muscles being released. This allows for greater movement and increased exercise effectiveness. 

In addition to warming up your muscles and getting into the mind set of exercise, a thorough warm-up will also prevent soreness after exercise. 

 

Don’t let the warm days and high humidity be the reason for you not to remain physically fit and healthy through the warmer months. Here are five (5) ways to exercise effectively during summer: 

 

1. Dress the Part 

Wear minimal amounts of clothing to facilitate cooling by evaporation. Remember it is not sweating that cools you, but the evaporation of the sweat. Wearing lightweight, light-coloured clothing in breathable fabrics will allow the evaporation process to occur. 

 

2. Exercise in cooler places 

Whilst an outdoor workout has it's benefits, hitting your nearest Jetts Gym is a great way to exercise regardless of the weather outside. With over 250+ clubs across Australia and New Zealand, you're never too far away from a gym to keep cool in. 

 

3. Exercise Smarter, Not Harder 

Try working out during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or early evening. Decrease the intensity of your exercise and slightly increase the duration. You can also try changing your workout to intervals to avoid overheating. Remember, it is OK to take breaks. 

 

4. Drink Water ALL Day 

Maintain salt-water balance by drinking plenty of fluids (preferably water). If you plan on being physically active for over an hour, consider consuming a sports drink. Always avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages for up to one day before you exercise. 

 

5. Team Up 

Ask a friend or family member to join in. It is a safer, more motivational and enjoyable option than exercising alone. 

 

This article was kindly supplied by: Australia Wide First Aid 

 

This article was research and created for the purpose of first aid information. All information read should not be used in place of advice from qualified health professionals. 

References: 

1. Australia Wide First Aid Online Manual - https://www.australiawidefirstaid.com.au/files/AWFAmanual-ed1-website.pdf?utm_source=confirmation&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=confirmation_email 

2. Aus Dance - http://ausdance.org.au/articles/details/warm-up-and-cool-down-rules-for-safe-dance 

3. Body Building - http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/topicoftheweek32.htm 

4. American Heart Association - http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Top-5-Tips-to-Staying-Cool-During-Your-Summer-Workout_UCM_428764_Article.jsp# 

 
 
 
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