We all know we’re supposed to warm-up before a workout, but we suspect that a lot of us secretly wonder if it’s doing anything. It might just be a good way to pretend like we know what we’re doing. Does anyone really know why we’re supposed to work out – before we start working out?
According to The New York Times, sometimes even hardcore marathon runners don’t know why they warm-up. Experts say the idea is that muscles contract better after they’ve already been contracting for a while. As muscles contract, they release calcium ions in the cells, which enable the muscle fiber to more powerfully contract. For long events, like marathons, the theory is that runners will do their best if they can warm their muscles in just a few contractions, so they don’t tire before the race. In short events, athletes might do better if they do a more “high-intensity warm-up…that can allow fast-twitch muscle fibers to contract more efficiently, and can prepare the nerve fibers and the cardiovascular system for an all-out effort.”
All this research on the effectiveness of warm-ups, however, may not be very reliable. What do you think? If you have better athletic performances (or workouts) after you warm up, let us know in the comments section, below.