This article is not about how to warm-up but instead emphasizes why a proper warm-up is essential for a safe and productive practice. Warming up before a run, weight training, athletic practice/competition or any activity that demands strenuous physical exertion is just as important as the actual activity, if not more important. A proper warm-up prepares an individual not only physically, but mentally as well. Warming up properly enables one to reap the benefits of raising their core body temperature, increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery, joint and tendon range of motion, improving metabolic reaction and nerve-impulse transmission plus much more. This preparation will not just improve your ability to maximize your training efficiency and athletic endeavor but is the best medicine for preventing injuries. Most of us do not have enough time in our day to train let alone adding time for a proper warm up. Although the time required to warm up varies per individual, it should not be less than 10-15 minutes. Just do it. Many injuries, from simple to serious, can be prevented by warming up properly. Also, the time committed to your warm-up is time well spent to mentally prepare yourself for what you are about to do while allowing you to gain the most out of your training or competition. Always “mentally warm up” by envisioning what you are going to do and how to do it perfectly. If you are warming up for weight training, see in your mind the particular lift or exercise you will perform and do it correctly and with power. Talk to yourself about why you are training using actual statements like “I am confident, powerful, energetic, strong, etc.” as positive affirmations to reinforce your true abilities. I promise it will enhance your performance in training and sport, let alone your life. Everything, absolutely everything, starts with your mind and you have the ability to control and encourage it!
A proper warm-up will begin with low impact cardio-respiratory exercise leading to more dynamic movements to prepare the nervous system for increased exertion and movement. The whole point is to mobilize, activate, and stimulate. Warming up is no less important than your actual training or sports competition. A proper warm-up is an integral part of your training. They are of one, not separate. Find pride in the quality of your warm up!