Warm up in a warm city?? Is it really necessary? What does that really mean?

1. If you are exercising first thing in the morning, you probably need a “proper” warm up. Sleeping makes the body stiff, especially so if you’ve slept in an air-conditioned room. The metabolic processes have slowed down too, and so have your reflexes. You need to prepare your body for the demands that you will put on it. You should spend at least 20 min doing light, aerobic, whole body movements and stretches before increasing the intensity to what your actual exercise for the day is.

2. If you are exercising an hour or two after you wake up, and you have been moving around the house getting things done, you probably do not need a full warm up. You might do alright with a 2-3 minute quick warm up followed by a few quick stretches.

3. If you have been sitting in the office all day and plan your exercise session after that, you will need a moderate warm up, but a good amount of stretching to prepare for your exercise.

4. The type and intensity of the warm up also depends on the exercise itself. For a cardio activity like a 5-10 k run, a light 5-7 minute jog and a whole body active stretches routine will be a good warm up. For a generalised whole body beginner-intermediate strength training routine, warming up the whole body with a light version of calisthenic-like free hand exercises and stretches is best. But if you plan an advanced level, heavy strength routine, a light 5-7 minute jog, followed by whole body free-hand exercises and stretches, and then a lighter set of each of the exercises before the actual sets should all be part of your warm up.

5. Warm up is not only for cardio/sport/gym strength. Even for a Yoga session, your body needs to be warmed up. Before going into the actual poses, it would be good to do a lighter version of them or some similar stretches.

Your body will perform best when you prepare it by clearly demonstrating what you really need from it. There will then be enough blood flow to the required areas, enough glucose and oxygen supplied, muscles pliable and prepped up, joints moved through the full required ranges and not surprised or suddenly shocked with the movement or forces, brain perfectly synced with body to provide best support and coordinate the movement, heart and lungs ready for the upcoming demand to scale up performance, nervous system and reflexes sharpened and prepared to anticipate sudden changes.

A good warm up is like the key that smoothly opens a door. Always use it.

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  • Dr Harshada Rajadhyaksha

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