How often do we walk into the gym, go out for a run, or perform any type of exercise without the proper warm up?

Too often!

We tend to jump right into exercise without properly preparing our muscles and joints, which has the potential to lead to injury or may even affect the quality of the activity or exercise. How do we prevent this?

  The answer is simple: with a dynamic or functional warm-up.  

Warming up before any type of physical activity has many benefits, some of these benefits include:

  1. When muscles are warmed up, they become more flexible, and they can relax and contract better.  Warming up is called just that because the temperature of your muscles literally increases during the process.
  2. The elasticity of your muscles increases, and this will reduce strain on the joints and reduce the chance of injury.
  3. As your blood vessels dilate, the flow of blood becomes smooth and your heart stays healthy throughout the workout.
  4. As your body’s heating and cooling mechanisms work better after a warm up, you will be able to manage the workout well.
  5. Your endurance improves as your muscles get more oxygen if you warm up before the exercise.
  6. If you are lifting weights or running, the range of motion of all joints will enhance with a warm up session, and this will enhance our performance in the exercise.
  7. A warm up impacts the hormonal action in your body. This will make more energy available and the process becomes effortless.
  8. Also, a warm up is like preparing yourself mentally for a big event or an intense session. It helps prepare your whole system before you shock it with intense activity.

Whether the activities you’re participating in are easy or intense, warming up prepares our bodies and promotes good movement and mobility throughout exercise, while also preventing many other issues that can come with “cold muscles and joints”.

To combat these issues, spending anywhere from 10-15 minutes before exercise or activity can ultimately improve the quality of your body’s performance, while helping you maintain your health to continue activity.

A general example of a quality dynamic and functional warm up include different types of movements that are solely meant to help prepare your body and get it moving.

A guideline to a general warm-up routine would include:

  • Jogging, biking, etc. for about 5 minutes – the purpose here is to just get the blood flowing and get those muscles and joints moving; you want to work at a comfortable pace – easy to moderate.
  • All of these movements can be done in place, walking, etc.
  • When completing a dynamic warm up with these movements, each exercise can be completed by counting out repetitions in a range of 10-15, or by completing each exercise for 30-60 seconds
  • Each movement is only a guideline and can be modified to fit an individual’s needs/skill level, but also remember to work at your own pace
While warming up has many benefits, always remember to use good form! You will protect yourself and gain the most out of these functional movements when done properly.
No matter what age or activity always remember to utilize and perform a proper warm up, your body with thank you, and you’ll be ready and more prepared to take on any activity or exercise.

Katy Hall, MS, CSCS 

Director of Athletic Performance

M.S., Exercise and Sports Science
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist - NSCA
B.S., Kinesiology and Health Promotion
Certified Personal Trainer – NSCA
CPR/AED Certified

Katy Hall graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2013, with a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion. Upon completing her undergraduate degree, she immediately began the Kinesiology graduate program at UW. She will be completing her Master's Degree in Exercise and Sport Science, with an emphasis in Exercise and Sport Psychology in December of 2016. Katy is also a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is currently working towards becoming a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, CSCS. While attending UW, she competed for five years for the cowgirl's track and field team primarily as a 60–meter and 100–meter hurdler. During her time as a Cowgirl, she was able to achieve honors on the track and in the classroom as both a Mountain West All Conference team member and Mountain West Scholar Athlete. Katy is excited to be a part of Altitude Fitness because she has a profound passion for training and conditioning because of her own personal experiences and wants to share that with others. Her passion for athletics is what drives her to help others achieve their goals.

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