Whether you are an avid gym-goer, new to fitness, or getting back into exercising after surgery, a solid warm-up routine is essential for success. Evidence shows that warming up prior to exercise prevents injury and prepares your cardiovascular system. Most tissue injuries, specifically muscle strains and tears, occur when a muscle is placed under tension it cannot handle or isn’t prepared for. So how do we prepare our muscles for a workout? In order to keep it simple, there are two things to keep in mind when creating a warm-up routine.
- Increasing your Body Temperature
- Elevating the core temperature of the body prior to exercise is beneficial for several reasons. When our muscles are warm, it increases their elasticity and flexibility, which loosens the tissues around the joint, improves ROM, and prevents tissue damage. The best way to increase the temperature is to get your heart rate up gradually with light activity (jogging in place, arm swings, etc.).
- Targeting Specific Areas
- This simply means, if you are planning to work your shoulders, warm up your shoulders. If you are going for a run, warm up your legs. This allows blood flow to increase to the areas you are about to work, which leads to a more efficient workout.
If you are unsure of what exercises to incorporate in your warm-up, ask your physical therapist and they will be happy to assist you in creating a routine that works for you. And remember, it doesn’t have to be long, just 5 to 10 minutes to prepare your body and mind for the workout ahead.
To your Health,
Dr. Ali Henderson PT, DPT