In the fitness industry, there is a serious ongoing debate that is eliciting strong and varied opinions. Before exercising, should you warm up, or not? An additional angle to understanding this debate should be geared towards reflecting what warming up actually means.
Should You Really Warm Up Before Workout? – Or Is It Just An Overhyped Activity?
The dire need to warm up is unarguably dependent on the intensity of the proposed exercise session. For example, if you are planning to walk on a treadmill, warming up might be less of a necessity. On the other hand, if you are preparing for an Olympic weightlifting session, then warming up shouldn’t be underestimated.
But, and it’s a big “BUT,” you could do more than just warm up. Warm up should be better termed as “movement preparation,” as it vividly describes the process of getting the body ready for what it is about to do.
Therefore, to answer the question of “should you warm up or not,” yes, you should. Not everyone in the world functions optimally or can instantly jump into intense movement. So, it’s better to be safe rather than be sorry when it comes to your body and preventing injuries. Let’s delve more into warm-ups and see what the fuss is really about!
Warm Ups- What Is It Supposed to Do?
If you constantly take fitness classes, or you are an avid exerciser for a while, chances are you’ve encountered a coach or instructor who recommends that you warm up before commencing your fitness section. Warm-ups should strengthen your body for the planned exercise routine, especially if it’s on the high-end.
Warm-ups are not a mere series of static body stretch, but rather a pre-exercise routine to boost the activity of blood flow and circulation around the body, more importantly to your limbs and arms. It also slowly raises the heart rate in pre-workout to boost the heart rate in preparation for the real fitness program. According to expert’s belief, “you may be posing your body to the risk of injury if you start the actual program without warming up first.”
A recently published April 2017 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine observed a popular warm-up program for football lovers, FIFA 11 and FIFA 11+ (a newly released version of the warm-up). The original “light and quick” FIFA 11 version take about 10 minutes involving shuffling, jumping, and balancing as you wade through interesting series of moves.
The newly released FIFA 11+, built on the original standard, is more vigorous. Alongside the standardized routine, FIFA 11+ adds up squats, vertical leaps, and leg lifts. This study is the first of its kind to determine whether or not warms up protect athletes from injuries and prepares them for the real deal.
In this study, a series of athletes were picked to start a warm-up session before exercising using the FIFA11 and FIFA11+ program or a different routine that involved jogging and stretching. However, the result indicated that the FIFA 11+ warm-up before exercise helped to reduce ankle, knee, hamstring, hip, and groin injuries by up to 40 percent as compared to the other group who used the other warm-up alternatives. Also, the study deduced that the less- challenging FIFA 11 yielded almost the same result as the alternative warm up- which means it did not limit the risk of injury.
A theorized result from researchers shows that FIFA11 actually plays a vital role in improving balance, muscle strength and coordination due to its more challenging nature. Suggestions from researchers also disclosed that FIFA 11+ may benefit basketball players who engage in exercise regimes involving cutting, sprinting and swift changes in acceleration. Also, they caution exercisers to control the acclimation of the FIFA11 before starting out the warm-up session. Otherwise, you may be increasing instead of reducing injury risk.
So, Regular Exercisers, What’s the Way?
This research, alongside other studies, corporately suggests a prudent warm up that builds up to an intense workout. You can spend about 10 minutes gradually walking up your way to a more vigorous movement that involves lower and upper extremities. In fact, you can introduce a slow jog towards the end of your fitness routine, which may involve jumps and modified squats. Stay away from “cold stretching”- a stretching activity dome before starting to move the body to boost heart rate and circulation. After warming up for about 10 minutes, you can pause and stretch softly before starting your exercise. In a nutshell, stretching is best performed after a cool down, not before you start your workout.
Popular Misconceptions About Warming Up
So, to wrap it up, it’s time to start opening up a debate and leave you with some stuff to think about. So here are some commonly misused misconceptions about warming up… what are your thoughts?
Never static-stretch before working out
This classic line has been around for years. Static stress releases muscular tonicity and therefore leads to de-regulating the muscle, allowing less restriction or greater range across a joint. But if done before exercise, is believed to be risky due to muscle fibers “shutting down.” However, static stretching can actually prepare the body for exercise.
You must perform at least five minutes CV exercise before increasing blood shunting
The most-believed effective method of blood shunting comes from certain movement-based ramp warm-ups. The more muscular escalation created in a body region, the more the requirement for blood flow.
Five minutes Is okay to activate the aerobic system for action
The aerobic system starts kicking in at around three to five minutes of activity. Though, it may take a longer time to activate the system to work fine and efficiently to boost the amount of energy provided by fatty acid rather than carbohydrate. About 20 minutes is believed to be the length of time needed for the body to begin utilizing fats as fuel in the aerobic energy system. And that’s all. So, what do you think, should you warm up? Should you not? What’s your opinion? Share your personal experience, and let the debate begin!