You’ve probably been told to “warm up” before working out or participating in an activity many times in your life. But what really is the importance of a warm-up and what does it look like?
What are the benefits of dynamic warm-ups?
In the past, warming up meant stretching out your muscles. However, evidence has since shown that a dynamic warm up is much more beneficial in preventing injuries and improving athletic performance as compared to static stretching. Static stretching focuses on loosening up muscles. Benefits of dynamic warm-ups include:
- Increasing heart rate
- Increasing blood flow – which helps deliver nutrients to muscles
- Improving elasticity of muscles and tendons – which improves the range of motion through the joints
- Activating the central nervous system
This prepares your body, particularly your cardiovascular system, for the exertion of the sport or activity.
Who should do dynamic warm-ups?
Dynamic warm-ups should be implemented by athletes of all levels. In fact, if your lifestyle is mainly sedentary, you would probably benefit more from a dynamic warm-up routine. Whether you are participating in your routine work out at the gym, playing recreational soccer on the weekends or competing at higher levels in sports, dynamic warm-ups will positively impact your performance.
What does a dynamic warm-up look like?
While static stretching involves putting a muscle in a lengthened position and holding, dynamic warm-ups involve moving through a joint’s range without holding in one area. In general, dynamic warm-ups should include movements of the joints and muscles that are going to be used during your specific sport or activity. For example, if you are playing in an adult league soccer game on the weekend, your dynamic warm-up might include a light jog around the field, leg swings forwards/back and side to side, and side stepping or shuffling. The warm-up should be at least 10-15 minutes in duration to be effective.
Though it may seem tedious, investing a little bit of time at the beginning of your workout or activity can significantly impact your body and your athletic performance.
If you have any questions about whether this is something you would benefit from, call us at (905) 582-9700!