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Warming Up

Preparing Your Body for Exercise

By Brad Walker

Updated April 19, 2004

Warm up activities are a crucial part of any exercise regime or sports training. The importance of a structured warm up routine should not be underestimated when it comes to the prevention of sports injury.

The Warm Up

An effective warm-up has a number of very important key elements. These elements, or parts, should all be working together to minimize the likelihood of sports injury from physical activity.

Warming up prior to any physical activity does a number of beneficial things, but primarily its main purpose is to prepare the body and mind for more strenuous activity. One of the ways this is achieved is by helping to increase the body’s core temperature, while also increasing the body’s muscle temperature. This helps to make the muscles loose, supple and pliable.

An effective warm-up, also has the effect of increasing both your heart rate and your respiratory rate. This increases blood flow, which in turn increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. All this helps to prepare the muscles and tendons for more strenuous activity.

Keeping in mind the aims or goals of an effective warm-up, we can then go on to look at how the warm-up should be structured.

Obviously, it is important to start with the easiest and most gentle activity first, building upon each part with more energetic activities, until the body is at a physical and mental peak. This is the state in which the body is most prepared for the physical activity to come and where the likelihood of sports injury has been minimized as much as possible. So, how should we structure the warm-up to achieve these goals?

Keep reading to learn the four key elements, or parts, which should be included to ensure an effective and complete warm-up.

Related Video
Simple Exercise Warm Up

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