Warming up is a sacred habit among those who practice physical activities. But, those who do exercises in an amateur way, have probably already wondered if the warm-up is really necessary and may even have thought about skipping this step of the exercise.
However, the truth is that warming up plays a key role in preparing the body . Not to mention that it still offers numerous benefits for those who follow it to the letter.
If you want to know why warming up before the game is so important, read on.
Why warm up before the game?
As we said above, the warm-up has the function of preparing the body for physical activity. It basically works as follows: as in the vast majority of cases, the body is at rest before physical activity, it is necessary to “warn” it that this rest will end. For this reason, we say that the warm-up works as a kind of transition between resting and exercising .
This “warning” serves to raise heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and body temperature . Not to mention that heating also causes vasodilation, responsible for bringing more oxygen to the muscles, a process that leads to aerobic metabolism.
In practice, this means that when warming up, the athlete provides the necessary conditions to the muscles, so that they produce more energy and adapt this energy according to the exercise.
What happens in your body?
To better understand why warming up before a game is important, we need to talk about muscle energy production. Briefly, muscles can produce energy through two processes: aerobic and anaerobic.
- Aerobic metabolism: occurs when reactions take place in the presence of oxygen. In this case, the amount of energy produced is greater, as well as the level of oxygen.
- Anaerobic metabolism: in this case, the energy produced for the body does not come from oxygen. Therefore, oxygen levels are lower than in aerobic metabolism and the energy produced during respiration is also lower.
Anaerobic metabolism can be triggered instantly and especially meets the energy demand in the first few seconds of the transition between rest and exercise. Gradually, energy production is met by aerobic metabolism , until a stable phase of exercise is reached, where aerobic energy production balances demand.
This means that all physical activity creates an oxygen debt , which occurs in the first few minutes of the transition phase. For this reason, heating is so necessary. After all, it anticipates the elevation of aerobic metabolism and reduces this oxygen debt.
What is the difference between warming up and stretching?
Now that you know why warming up before the game is essential, it’s time to answer one of the main doubts of amateur athletes: what is the difference between warm-up and stretching?
First, we need to highlight that both are fundamental to the human body. However, they have different functions. While the warm-up is intended to warn the body that the resting state will end, stretching is mainly focused on increasing the flexibility of muscles and tissues . Its function is to offer greater elasticity to the muscle and range of motion. With this, the athlete can, for example, prevent injuries .
Regarding when each of these should be done, it is of course important to follow the guidance of a physical education professional. But, in general, warm-up should be performed before any physical activity . Stretching should be done after a warm-up session. But in this case, it is recommended that these stretches are light and calm, without “pulling” the muscles too much.
To perform more vigorous stretches, which are really focused on increasing flexibility, professionals recommend specific classes in stretching, Pilates and Yoga.
What is the correct way to warm up?
Now that you know why to warm up before the game, you might be wondering what is the correct way to warm up your body. Below are some tips to help you. But they do not exclude the need for professional guidance . So remember to talk to your technician about this.
First, it is essential to reserve at least 10 minutes for heating , and on cold days, it may be necessary to increase this time. Also, aim to perform about 15 repetitions of the same movement, to ensure that the muscles needed to perform them are really warmed up.
With regards to movements, as playing football mainly involves running, don’t forget to:
- Move the trunk;
- Move the hip;
- Walk in a zigzag;
- Do a light trot;
- Take small leaps.
11 reasons to warm up before starting a sport
Finally, we list below why warming up before the game is so important for those who practice physical activities, especially football. The main benefits are:
- Prepares the body for physical activity;
- Increases blood flow to the muscles;
- Reduces discomfort at the beginning of exercises;
- Decreases the risk of injury;
- Increases body temperature;
- Prepares the cardiovascular and pulmonary system for physical exercise;
- It helps the body to reach the energy levels needed for the practice;
- Reduces lactic acid buildup, which causes muscle pain;
- Increases joint lubrication;
- Decreases the feeling of tiredness and shortness of breath during the match;
- It reduces the chances of you getting cramps.