Why Do We Stretch and Warm Up Before Exercise?

When you wake up in the morning you allow your body time to warm up by having a coffee or breakfast before you step out and get into your day. You recognise the importance of allowing your brain time to wake from its slumber, to have something to eat, and prepare mentally for the day ahead.

In the same way, when you get into your car, you let the engine run for a little while before you drive off, otherwise, you put a strain on the engine. The human body works the same way when it comes to exercise – we prepare it for the task ahead, by giving it a taste of what is to come through some warm up exercises and stretching.

Warm the Body

For most people, before they exercise their body is usually not at the same temperature that it will get to when they start exercising, so a warm up is a way of assisting the body in preparing for this. By doing some light jogging on the spot, it allows the body to start getting into the mode of moving, and is an important part of preventing injury. Some of the sports people that play at Salisbury Super Sports come straight from work to their game, which means they have been sitting on a bus, or in a car, after sitting at a desk all day, so a warm up is a must!

Get the Blood Circulating

By doing some warm up and stretching before you start exercising, you get the blood to begin circulating through the body, and gently elevate the heart rate, before jumping into the full-on fast paced exercising. By allowing the heart rate to increase gradually it helps for the blood to start circulating through all the muscles, joints and ligaments and to start working in unison, at a pace that they can handle, which prevents them from tearing.

Prepare Mentally

If the exercise that you are preparing for is strenuous or requires endurance such as hiking in steep terrain, doing an advanced class, or is a fast paced game, then mental preparation is as important as warming up the body. There is an old saying that is along the lines of “if you think you are beaten you are”, which rings very true when it comes to sport. Preparing mentally allows you to be able to go the distance and keep going on, even when you feel like you can’t, and to push your body past that point where it wants you to give up.