Why is it Important to Warm-Up?
The purpose of a warm-up is to gradually prepare the heart, lungs, blood vessels, and muscles for safe and comfortable exercise.
People with heart disease have narrowed coronary arteries because there are plaque deposits on the inner lining of the arteries. The narrowed coronary arteries restrict the flow of blood to the heart.
A warm-up allows your blood vessels, including the coronary arteries, to relax and open up. This increases the blood flow to the working muscles and the heart. The increased blood flow means that more oxygen is available to the working muscles (such as the legs) and to the heart muscle. This allows the body to exercise without too much physical stress. This means:
- the demand and supply of oxygen to the heart are in balance
- symptoms of angina, irregular heartbeats, dizziness and shortness of breath are less
How Do I Warm Up?
Your warm-up can be the same type of exercise you are doing to train your heart and lungs.
- If you are walking for your exercise, then your warm-up can be walking.
- If you are cycling for your exercise, then you can warm up by cycling.
To make sure you warm up safely:
- warm up for at least 5 minutes
- warm up at a lower intensity or speed than your prescribed exercise
- If you walk for your exercise, then walk at a slow pace
- If you exercise on a stationary bicycle, then cycle at a slow pedal speed, with little or no resistance