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Warm Up Before Working Out

By Paul Rothbart

Regular exercise is important to good health. Many people know this and engage in their favorite workout several times per week. But some of them just launch into that run, start pounding the weights, or go immediately into that first pose. This is a mistake that can cause injury, possibly serious. Muscles, tendons, and connective tissue need to be warmed up prior to being put to use in exercise. Warming up thoroughly and properly will help prevent injury as well as improve the quality of the workout. Here are some benefits of warming up and some tips to do it effectively.

Physical Benefits

A thorough warm-up impacts the body in several ways. It raises the temperature of the blood as well as the body. This weakens the binding of oxygen to hemoglobin which makes the oxygen more readily available to the muscles during exercise. This can help to increase endurance. The blood vessels dilate, improving blood flow and lessening strain on the heart. Muscle temperature rises, increasing elasticity and reducing the risk of a pull or tear. Range of motion increases to its maximum. The muscles work their best as strength and speed are improved. 

Mental Benefits

During the warm-up, the body is easing into a state of work and the mind is left free. This is an excellent time to build focus. Clearing the mind and preparing for the exercise regimen is very helpful to a better workout. Visualization can be utilized to prepare, allowing proper execution and maximum gain from exercise. 

Tips for Warming Up

A good warm-up should be tailored to the form of exercise. A brisk walk is best preceded by starting out a slower pace for the first five minutes. For something more intense like a run, a few minutes of stretching followed by some light jogging is advisable before setting off at a normal pace. Stretching, light calisthenics, and some sets with light weight is good for weight training. Stretching is important to gradually increase elasticity and avoid tears and pulls. Dynamic stretches are best. Rather than hold a position, it is better to move slowly through a range of motion, gently increasing the stretch. Start your stretching with motions such as circling the arms, raising the legs, or touching the toes. Once the body has begun to warm up, more intense stretching can begin.

Engaging in a regular exercise routine is an important part of maintaining good health. But intense exercise does come with a risk of injury. Be smart. Reduce the risk by warming up each and every time you work out. Don't ask the body to do something it's not ready for. 

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Goodlettsville, Tenn.

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