Runners, don’t skip the warm-up
it’s universally recommended: Warm up before you work out. But there are many impatient runners out there who skip this important step to save time. If you just take off running with no warm-up, you may be missing out on several advantages.
* Warming up increases blood flow, providing oxygen to working muscles and improving overall oxygen dynamics, which favorably affects VO2max.
* Active warm-ups reduce the build up of lactic acid during high-intensity exercise.
* Elevating the body temperature with a warm-up increases the movement of oxygen from hemoglobin and myoglobin. It reduces muscle viscosity, making muscles more fluid and supple. It also increases the sensitivity of nerve receptors and speeds nerve responses.
* Warm-ups reduce injuries.
* Warming up reduces oxygen consumption during exercise and lowers post exercise heart rates compared to no warm-up.
* A moderate intensity warm-up improves your range of motion and anaerobic performance.
* Warm-ups are associated with decreased use of glycogen, longer time to fatigue and improved aerobic energy metabolism.
If you routinely avoid a warm-up, you may be selling your training short. In general, warm-ups improve subsequent performance, enabling you to make more effective use of your workouts. With the added benefit of injury prevention, a warm-up is time well spent. Jog at an easy pace for a few minutes and then gently stretch prior to a regular training run. Start running slowly for several minutes before building to moderate intensity (60% VO2max). For races, increase your warm-up to include a gradual build to a higher intensity.
(Med. Sci. Sports & Exerc., 2002, Vol. 34, No. 12, pp. 2091-2096; Journ. Applied Phys., 2002, Vol. 92, No. 2, pp. 609-616; 1999, Vol. 87, No. 5, pp. 1914-1922; Journ. Orthopedic and Sports Phys. Ther., 1998, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 154-161; Intern’l Journ. Sports Med., 1991, Vol. 12, No. 5, pp. 480-483)
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