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Warming up: why is it so important to warm up before exercise?

Whatever the sports activity practiced and its intensity, the warm-up that is practiced at the beginning of training or before a competition is an essential phase. The purpose of this warm-up is to prepare the body for an effort, gently soliciting the heart and muscles. But why warm up? This improves organic possibilities, body motor skills and performance. Warming up acts on the body by increasing body temperature. Blood flow and body irrigation are increased allowing blood to flow faster. This phenomenon promotes the supply of oxygen and the evacuation of carbon dioxide. Pulmonary ventilation and the speed of muscle contraction are also increased. Warming up also acts on motor skills promoting better transmission of nerve impulses. Warming up also helps prevent bodily injury such as elongations or tears, thanks to the increase in body temperature and muscle elasticity. Sports performance is improved especially when it comes to concentration. There are different warm-up techniques that can vary depending on the sport practiced.


The experienced athlete will therefore, sometimes in cooperation with a coach, build a program combining warm-up movements of the muscles solicited. Do not make too much intense effort during the warm-up. Rapid movements are therefore to be avoided. For a classic warm-up, that is to say that of a person who practices an activity to stay healthy and who is not a high-level athlete, it is considered that a session of fifteen minutes is a good average.


During this period, do not forget to hydrate well because all sports activities cause a significant amount of water to be lost. A standard warm-up will revolve around five main stages. The first step will increase heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure. It is possible to do a small five-minute jog or a little jump rope. This first step makes it possible to make heat in the lower limbs. The second stage is intended to make heat in the trunk, by series of abdominals for example. The third step will make it possible to make heat in the shoulders, arms, hands and neck by series of circles with the arms (reversing the rotation), by rotations of the neck and clenching of the hands. After these warm-up exercises, the stretching phase begins: those of the back and then those of the muscles of the legs and glutes. The stretch should last thirty seconds and be done gradually, exhaling. In general, this warm-up, whatever the techniques and exercises practiced, must always be done gradually, without forcing.


Note: the warm-up is not only practiced by athletes, but also by musicians, especially with the warm-up of the hands or by singers who warm up their voice before subjecting their vocal cords to too intense an effort.