If you don't warm-up, does it really matter? Many people operate on that principle, skipping the warm-up and getting straight on with their activity.
How prevalent is this? A recent survey showed that less than 3% of golfers do any kind of warm-up, a statistic repeated in many sports.
However, performing a warm-up performs several vital functions:
- It increases blood flow through muscle tissues, raising metabolism and muscle temperature
- Warm muscles contract and relax more quickly
- It gets the heart rate get to a workable rate for beginning exercise
- Nerve transmission and muscle metabolism function better at higher temperatures
- You are mentally focused on the training or competition
The net result? You perform better and are less likely to get injured. So what should you do to get ready for your next work out?
The prescription is simple:
- Begin with 5 to 10 minutes of easy cardio - this can be gentle jogging, or if you're in the gym, any of the cardio machines
- For sports, 5 to 10 of dynamic stretching exercises. These should be specific to the sport/event.
- For a runner, just gradually increase your speed.
Static stretching is counterproductive at this time, and should be saved for your cool-down.