You, too, may have heard for the first time about warming up in school during gym class. Most likely you may have thought that its function was to allow the PE teacher to take roll call and some time, when in fact the benefits it can give you are by no means negligible.
Before describing them and telling you how to do an effective warm-up, however, let’s say one thing right away: however demanding it is both in terms of time and physical effort, doing warm-up is an activity that gives you much more than it asks for. It takes you a few minutes and doesn’t tire you out, so doing it is always a good idea.
Why warming up is a good idea
The purposes of heating are many:
- It serves to make the muscles more plastic and elastic, which, like plasticine, as they warm up are better prepared to stretch, contract and expand without damage
- Increases blood supply to muscles and, consequently, oxygenation, which is necessary to improve their efficiency
- It says to your brain to change the state: from “static” to “dynamic.” Instead of doing it abruptly and without giving it time to get used to the change in attitude, it gently guides him to manage a physical change necessary to carry out physical activity smoothly
- Reduces the risk of injury by increasing muscle fiber elasticity.
How to do it
Nothing could be easier: to warm up before a run-at least at a minimum-a brisk walk is enough, but even better a light jog for 5-10 minutes. The duration is proportional to the expected mileage of the training or race you are about to undertake: for a classic 10k 5-10 minutes is enough, for a long or a half 15 minutes is more than enough.
Don’t be afraid of getting tired in the meantime: by practicing it you should never reach peak exertion levels typical of training or competition (in which case you are doing it wrong) but always well below. Remember: the purpose is only to make the muscles softer and more malleable, so as to minimize the risk of injury by increasing oxygenation and thus their responsiveness.
The question arises: as you awakened your body before the race, is it also appropriate to gently bring it back to a calm state? Of course you do, also to re-accustom your mind to the change of pace.
How to do it? With what is known as a defatigue, which is a lot like a warm-up-you can do it by slowing down and running progressively until you get to a sustained walk. The idea is to bring your body toward calmness, gradually. De-fatigue is a very important phase of training because it is the beginning of recovery, which, as we have often told you, is one of the three components of the triad consisting of training and nutrition, essential because from this begins the rebuilding of muscles fatigued or exhausted by training.
How long should the defatigue last? It is very simple: usually 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the duration of the training that preceded it.
Granted that walking is always great for you, one trick to compress your time (especially if you are in a hurry) is to aniticipate the warm-up by “confusing” it with a walk. Say by chance your job allows you to avoid taking the car: why not use the walk from the office to home as a warm-up? All you need to do is increase the pace slightly and your muscles will be ready to start.
The important thing is to walk “running,” or rather: do it at a somewhat brisk pace, so that you not only speed up oxygenation of your muscles but also tell your brain that you are going for a run. It will be happy, you will see :)