So, your new piece of fitness equipment has arrived. It looked fantastic in the box, just as you had hoped. You’ve added the finishing touches and ensured that it’s stable. You’ve positioned it just where you wanted it, read the manual and you’re ready to go!
But, what one minute! Before leaping on to your brand new treadmill, there’s a critical step that you simply can’t ignore: you need to warm-up.
The warm-up is an important and yet often under-estimated element of any exercise event. It not only helps to protect you from injury but can also increase the effectiveness of your session. Let’s take a closer look at why a great warm-up really matters:
What does warming-up mean?
We’ll all probably familiar with the phrase warming-up, but what is a warm-up exactly? Put very simply, it’s a pre-session, to be undertaken prior to your main activity. During the warm-up, you’ll carry out some stretching exercises and some very light cardiovascular activity.
Precisely what should I do?
There are a number of exercises that are well suited to your warm-up routine. Fundamentally, you have two main aims:
- You are gearing up your muscles, getting them ready for the exercise routine that is to follow. By stretching your muscles, you warm them up, preparing them for the main exercises that will follow
- Cardiovascular exercises, on the other hand, will start to bring the heart rate up. They increase circulation and your core body temperature
Why do I need to do all of this?
Many exercise sessions will involve rapid movements. By building up slowly, you’ll help to get your body in the best condition to avoid injuries.
Is this really necessary?
You may think that walking is itself a form of warming-up. If you play team sports, for example, then walking may be a part of your preparations. So why would you bother warming-up before stepping on to a treadmill? That’s certainly true, but there’s value in a short warm-up here too.
Many treadmill users are looking to gain fitness and may be starting from a relatively low level. This can leave them more susceptible to injuries. Prior to an intense sporting activity, a 30-minute warm-up may be appropriate. When preparing for a treadmill session, a lighter warm-up is likely to be right for you. But just as warming-up helps avoid injuries during intensive sessions, so it can help here too.
What if you feel pain?
If you feel pain during your normal exercise routine, or as part of the warm-up, then this may indicate a wider problem. A great exercise session is designed to improve your overall levels of fitness, but it certainly shouldn’t ever put your body at risk. If you are suffering pain, then it’s always best to consult a medical professional.