Have you ever wondered why the first 5-10minutes of any group exercise class is spent warming up?
Sometimes we do things automatically without thinking about it, so I thought I would explain why it is we warm up at the start of a class (and why some gyms won’t allow people to join a class once the warm up has started):
Injury Prevention: the warm up helps reduce the risk of exercise-related injuries by gradually increasing blood flow to muscles, increasing mobility and reducing risk of strains or tears.
Improved Muscle Function: by increasing muscle temperature, this enhances muscle elasticity and contractility, allowing for more effective and powerful movements during exercise.
Enhanced Joint Flexibility: joint lubrication and flexibility reduces the likelihood of joint-related injuries and improving overall range of motion.
Optimized Heart Rate: by gradually elevating the heart rate and preparing the cardiovascular system for the increased demand of exercise, this reduces the stress on the heart.
Mental Preparation: provides focus, can reduce anxiety, and enhance the mind-muscle connection.
Improved Circulation: It increases blood flow to the working muscles, delivering more oxygen and nutrients while removing waste products, aiding in better muscle function.
Enhanced Performance: A proper warm-up can lead to better exercise performance, as warmed-up muscles and joints are more responsive and capable of generating greater force and endurance.
Reduced Muscle Soreness: Warming up can help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness by preparing your muscles for the physical demands of your workout.
Accelerated Metabolism: It kick-starts your metabolism, leading to better energy utilization and improved calorie burning during your workout.
Long-Term Fitness Gains: Consistently warming up before exercise can contribute to long-term fitness gains by allowing you to train more effectively, recover faster, and sustain a regular exercise routine without the setbacks of injuries or discomfort.
Next time you do a class, notice how the warm up moves will prepare for the movement patterns in the main workout. Instructors put a lot of thought and effort into programing classes to ensure not only maximum enjoyment and benefit but to keep participants safe.
Whether you are joining a group fitness class, working out on your own or doing a team sport, the warm up is a crucial part of the routine and should be done in some form every very time you exercise.
Anja has over 17 years experience as a personal trainer, Pilates and Barre instructor. She is also a menopause educator and coach. Check out The Wellbeing Toolkit for more information
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