Warming up before activity is important, especially for those performing strenuous or repetitive jobs.

We have all heard about stretching before or after activity, or as a way to break up repetitive tasks, but should we warm-up? Warming up has been shown to be effective in helping reduce overexertion which can cause sprains and strains of the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Warming up does this by:

  1. Raising the pulse.
    1. Raising the pulse gets blood flowing to the areas we will be using during our task, preparing it for the upcoming workload. This decreases the risk of injury to the anatomy most involved in your activity.
  2. Preparing joints for motion
    1. Warm-up allows the body to prepare the joints for activity. Motion in the joint stimulates fluid in the joint which helps them feel more loose, like a well-oiled machine.

There are phases to warming up…

  1. Cardio phase
    1. Loosens joints and gets heart pumping
  2. Mobility phase
    1. Perform some moves related to your specific task. This also warms up the brain by letting it know what kinds of activity you’re getting ready to perform. Also called a neurological warm up.
  3. Stretching phase
    1. Perform stretches to the warmed up regions.
    2. Continue stretches through the day, depending on your activity.

Keep these steps in mind before jumping n to your next physically demanding activity to help reduce your risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder from overexertion.