A proper warm-up should always be included in your program regardless of your goal. This is a very important part of any workout as it will help increase the temperature in the muscle, which allows you to contract the muscle much more forcefully and prepares the body for activity. This will help you to train more intensely and have a more efficient workout experience. The act of warming up also helps to pump fresh, oxygenated blood to the tissues and increase blood pressure and heart rate. This will properly prepare you for the demands of increased exercise intensity and reduces the risk for injury.
A typical warm-up consists of 5-10 minutes of light cardiovascular activity, such as walking, biking, or a light jog, followed by a series of stretches. Start your cardio off slow and then speed up as you begin to loosen up. You should follow this with a series of full-body stretches. Choose one stretch for each major muscle group and hold it for about 20 seconds before moving on to the next one. This is very important to the health, stability, and function of your joints and connective tissue. It will help to treat and prevent injury by increasing the extensibility of the joint, thereby making it more resilient and less prone to injury.
The majority of your blood is concentrated in your upper torso region for breathing, digestion, and basic coronary function. Stretching is a means of dispersing this blood out into the periphery and, in a way, give life and a sense of purpose to the rest of the body. Vital nutrients and oxygen are transported via the blood and help contribute to the growth, reproduction, and repair of tissue. A proper warm-up not only helps to prepare the body for activity, but it also comes with many other added benefits. Make this a part of your regular routine today!