Why is it important for physical activity?

It is enough with five or ten minutes of gentle exercise for our muscles to warm up. This “detail” before training is really important; Next, we explain all the reasons for this statement.

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Warming up prior to lifeguarding training or competition is an elementary step, which all athletes strictly respect. Do you know the risks of skipping this preparation phase? What are the best exercises to warm up before doing a physical activity or sport?

Swimming, like any other sport that we are about to do, requires the physical preparation of the individual before the start of activities. This is what we commonly call prewarming.

Warming up is not optional: everyone who does a sport has to do it to avoid injury and improve performance. Next, we will explain in detail why it is such an important aspect in the lives of athletes.

The importance of warming up before training or competing

The recommendation to do a proper warm-up is not the whim of the coaches. In reality, there are physiological reasons that make these conditioning workouts a fundamental part of every session or competition.

First, warming up allows the muscles to “prepare” for progressively increasing efforts. As we begin to move, the blood flow to the muscles increases, so they are better oxygenated and have more resources to meet the demands.

In the same way, the heart and respiratory rates increase; thus, the volume of air that the body has is greater. All this favors the functioning of the nervous system, in charge of directing concentration, “ordering” the movements of the muscles, and, not least, managing nerves, anxiety, and stress.

With all this, the swimmer – or any other athlete – who has warmed up will face subsequent work with greater flexibility, agility, concentration, strength, endurance, and, above all, with a significantly lower risk of injury.

The best exercises to warm up before swimming

Due to the characteristics of swimming and the demands it places on the body, there are some jobs that are more effective than others when warming up. These are some examples:

Jogging and leg exercises
Running for a few minutes at a slow pace is ideal to warm up your legs. Also, other useful exercises are jumps, squats, lunges, or a few minutes of bicycle, elliptical, or stair climber.

Arm movement

The upper extremities, along with the core, are as important as the legs when swimming. Therefore, it is totally advisable to mobilize them before throwing ourselves into the pool to do strokes as usual.

You can start by doing shoulder rotation, side and front flights, and push-up. In the same way, doing some sit-ups and a few seconds of the plank will allow to warm up the core, essential to maintain posture and stability when swimming.

Stretching

You should not do deep stretches, but rather static, of short duration. Always keep in mind that the goal is to start moving and increase flexibility little by little.

Low-intensity swim

Once the “general” exercises to warm-up have been completed with lifeguarding training, it will be time to start practicing the sport itself, but with lesser demands. This means that you can jump into the pool and start with a style that feels comfortable, at a gentle pace, and with rest between each pass.

Other tips for heating

If you are going to warm up before doing a sport, try to do it with work whose intensity increases progressively. Also, do exercises that activate the body and increase the rate of your breathing, but do not get tired. A good warm-up doesn’t have to be longer than 15-20 minutes.

However, there are external factors that can influence these patterns. For example, if you train first thing in the day, with the body having rested for many hours, it is better to spend a little more time warming up. The same applies for days with low temperatures; warming up will cost a little more in these cases.

Ultimately, try not to get too restful after you’ve warmed up. If you do, it could happen that your muscles return to a state “of rest” —and to add insult to injury, without having stretched. Thus, when starting activity suddenly, an injury is highly likely to occur.

Finally, it is worth noting that post-competition stretching is also vitally important with lifeguarding training. With these words, the body returns to a state of relaxation and the muscles regain their original shape, after changes in their structure caused by physical training.

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