The importance of an effective warm up can not be over-estimated. Not only does the warm up provide a platform for you to perform to the maximum of your abilities, but an effective warm up can reduce the chance of injury and mentally prepare you for the exercise ahead.
An aerobic exercise to should make up a large part of any effective warm up routine. Aerobic exercise is crucial in preparing the body for the more vigourous exercise ahead. Simple forms of aerobic exercise such as jogging or light cycling are ideal for starting your warm up with an aerobic exercise. Below is an outline of the benefits of an aerobic warm up:
1: Core Muscle Temperature- One of the most important benefits of an aerobic warm up, is that it increases the temperature within the muscles. This is crucially important for a number of reasons. When a muscle is warm it can contract far more powerfully. As such, speed and strength are greatly increased in warmed up muscles, as opposed to cold ones, due to the force with which warm muscles can contract. Warm muscles are also less likely to overstretch, due to the increased elasticity of warm muscles. As such, the possibility of injury is reduced.
2: Blood Vessels- Aerobic exercise causes you blood vessels to dilate. This is die to the increase in temperature and the demand for more blood around the body. When your blood vessels dilate, you become more efficient at transporting blood around your body. As such, more oxygenated blood reaches your muscles and less stress is put on your heart to pump sufficient blood around the body.
3: Flexibility- An effective aerobic warm up increases the range of motion in your joints. This not only helps maximise your performance level, but also reduces the risk of injury around the joints.
4: Body Hormones- The warm up produces a number of chemical reactions within the body, which prime us for physical activity. The most important of these is ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). ATP releases energy to power the internal activiites if the body, such as muscle contraction, movement within cells and transport of important substances around the body. The release of ATP is crucial for effective muscle performance. As such, as aerobic work out is critical for pre-match preperation.
5: Psychological preparation- An often overlooked benefit of the aerobic warm up, is that it prepares you mentally for the task ahead. It gets you thinking about how you will perform and puts you in the correct mental zone to perform effectively.
Incorporating aerobic exercise into your warm up is crucial in preparing your body for the demands of physical activity. No warm up should be without an element of aerobic exercise.