Why Warming Up Is So Important

A proper warming up should be a part of everyone’s street workout routine. They help promote proper safety, ensure a better workout, and can help you stay healthy over the long-term. On top of that, there’s no better way to get the blood flowing and put yourself in the right mental state to achieve the best physical performance possible. Here is more information about what warm-ups consist of, why warm-ups can prevent injuries and what the effects of a warm-up is on your body.

How Warming Up Prevents Injuries

action street workout moveWhile warming up is a highly important part of a great street workout or athletic performance, many neglect to participate in warm-up exercises. The fact is that warm-ups are extremely helpful in preventing injuries. In fact, many studies have demonstrated the benefits of warm-ups to keep musculoskeletal injuries at bay, underlining the scientific evidence for creating a warm-up routine on a regular basis.

At the scientific level, studies have shown that warm-ups produce an increase in body temperature, improve blood flow to muscles, increase the speed of impulses in the nervous system, and lower the activation energy rate for various metabolic chemical reactions. All of this helps prepare your body physically for the rigors of a street workout or athletic competition, which greatly reduces your chances of sustaining an injury.

One study showed that participants that performed a 15 minute warm-up received 50 percent less knee and ankle injuries than another control group. Another study performed on Norwegian female football players found that a warm-up regimen prevented knee, foot and ankle injuries in those who were provided with the structured warm-up regimen.

Perhaps athletes are the best example of the importance of warming up. No matter what the sport, there is almost a universal emphasis on warming up from personal and team trainers, and that’s because there’s a broad recognition that warming up prevents injuries. However, this doesn’t only apply to elite athletes. People who enjoy quick street workouts in the park can also benefit and should do their best to mimic what works for some of the best athletes in the world.

Warming Up Delivers A Performance Boost

Warming up is not only about avoiding injuries and other health risks, but it can also improve your overall performance. For example, one study found that athletes who performed body-weight gluteal warm-up exercises experienced explosive power output in their lower limbs compared to a control group that didn’t warm-up. Researchers concluded that these types of exercises can help improve performance for athletes in sports that require jumping, sprinting and even certain weight lifting moves or calisthenics exercises.

In another widely cited study, researchers performed a meta-analysis, which means they looked at many different studies and analyzed the results. They concluded that warming up led to improved performance in 79 percent of the criterions the researchers were looking at. Furthermore, there was no evidence that warming up produced any detrimental results for the subjects who were tested. In essence, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from a proper warm-up.

Preparing Yourself Mentally

workout motivation - Gustavo FrazaoWarm-ups also help you prepare yourself mentally, especially if you’re going to be participating in an activity that will challenge your mind as well as your body. Rock climbing, long distance hikes, intense athletic competition or street workout competitions can all put doubts in your mind that can lead to anxiety. Warming up can help you relax, remove negative thoughts, and help you focus on your natural muscle memory. In essence, warming up helps put you on auto-pilot towards great performance, and increase your ability to endure pain and pressure.

What A Warm-up Involves

There are many different types of warm-up exercises you can perform, and many of them are tailored to help you perform a particular sport or calisthenics exercise. However, in general, more warm-ups involve a mixture of stretching, cardiovascular exercises, and sometimes strength exercises. Here is information about these types of warm-ups and why they’re important.

Cardiovascular and Strength Warm-Ups

Cardiovascular exercises might include some light jogging, jumping jacks, or other exercises that will help you increase your body temperature, elevate the heart rate, and get your circulation going. Some light strength exercises are also a part of many warm-up routines, and might include some push ups and resistance training techniques.

Sport-Specific Warm-Ups

There are also sports-specific warm-ups. These involve targeting specific muscle groups, and performing certain actions or movements that prepare you for a specific activity that you’ll be participating in. For example, a baseball player might swing a bat with a weight on it to prepare their muscles when they step up to the plate while a basketball player might make specific arm stretches that increase their range of motion during competition. So when you’re preparing for a muscle-up you might focus on warming up your arms and shoulders.

Proper Stretching

stretchingIn general, there is a distinction between “warming up” and stretching. Warming up is often associated with cardiovascular exercises or light strength drills. However, stretching should also be included with a warm-up for the best results. Stretching exercises help you loosen and warm your muscles, and get them ready for movement during more intense physical activity. Before you jump right into stretching, it’s best to get your blood flowing first with some light aerobics, otherwise you may strain your muscles too much.

How Long Your Warm-Up Should Last

In general, your warm-up should last for about 20 to 30 minutes if you’re going to be a part of an athletic competition or participating in a street workout that will put a lot of strain on your body. However, if you’re stretched for time, a short warm-up is better than nothing. Try to warm-up for at least 5 to 10 minutes at the very least, as it will offer you some protection. Calisthenics exercises like Step-ups, Jumping jacks or Burpees are a great way to quickly warm up and get your bloodstream flowing.

Ultimately, warming up delivers clear benefits for people who want to perform physical activity, whether it’s just a quick street workout or an athletic competition. Armed with the information above, there’s no excuse why you shouldn’t be incorporating a warm-up before you participate in physical activity every time.