If you’re tight on time, you may wonder if you really need to warm up. You’d rather just get straight into your workout.
‘What harm could it do?’
‘Is it really that important?’
In short, the answer is yes. Warming up is extremely important before you do any workout. If you skip this vital part of your exercise routine then you’re running the risk of injuring yourself.
10 reasons why you need to warm up
- It raises body temperature and heart rate
- It lessens the risk of injury to joints and muscles. Keeping your muscles warm is vital for preventing strain and injury
- It increases muscle and connective tissue elasticity
- It increases circulation and blood flow to the muscles
- It loosens up the joints
- It prepares the muscles for the movements they’ll need to do during your workout
- It will help you to focus on your workout
- It prepares all the body’s systems for exercise, including the cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems
- It helps the body function at an optimal level during exercise
- It preps ligaments and tendons for strenuous activity
How long should I warm up for?
While it varies from person to person you should, at the very least, be warming up for 5 minutes. 10 minutes would be even better! However, depending on the activity you’re doing and the temperature you may feel that you need to spend longer warming up.
Do your warm up just before your workout. Taking a couple of minutes between your warm up and workout is fine but leave it too long and your muscles will go back to the temperature they were before you started.
How do I warm up properly?
The most effective warm ups combine some light exercises and stretching. Many people make the mistake of thinking that warming up and stretching are the same thing. However, it’s important that you stretch once you’ve warmed up your muscles. Stretching cool muscles can lead to straining and even tears.
An effective warm up could include:
- Jogging on the spot
- Back expansions
- Chest expansions
- Arm circles (wide)
- Arm circles (small)
- Hip rotations
- Jogging on the spot
Follow this with some wide lunges that include twisting your upper body to the right and stretching your arm up to the ceiling, and then repeating on the left side.
Stretch your legs further by standing on one leg and lift the other so that you can hold it against your chest.
Stay on one leg and pull the foot of your raised leg to your bottom and hold.
The moral of the story is don’t just jump straight into your workout. It won’t be long before you’ll feel the negative effects of this on your body. Putting yourself at risk of injury means you’ll only set yourself back. So with that in mind, isn’t 5 to 10 minutes of warming up worth it?