Warming up before you work out is essential, as it prepares your body to perform at its best. Moreover, it can help reduce the chances of injuries.
Getting a good warm up is the first step in any workout regimen, and it should include both static and dynamic stretching exercises. Static stretches are held for a period of time, while dynamic stretches involve movement to loosen the muscle and increase range of motion.
Dynamic stretches, like leg swings and walking lunges, are also great before running, weight training, and other cardio activities. They stretch the muscles, joints and tendons and can even improve coordination.
It’s also important to remember that if you are working out for the first time, or if you haven’t exercised in a while, a warm up is necessary. A warm up will raise your core temperature and heart rate, which are key components of an effective workout.
A warm up increases circulation, lubrication and blood flow to the muscles. It prepares the muscles for intense activity, and prevents injury by preparing your body to handle high levels of stress.
The importance of warming up before your workout is crucial for reducing pain, inflammation and swelling. This is especially true if you are recovering from an illness or surgery, are part of a pain management program for backache or neck pain, or are participating in a weight-loss plan.
You should do a warm up for five to 10 minutes before you begin your workout, says Jillian Michaels, celebrity trainer and creator of The Fitness App. This can include a few minutes of light cardio, such as jogging or cycling, or moving through a few simple yoga poses.
If you have a problem with flexibility, you should consider stretching before you do any strength or resistance training exercises, advises Dr. Behm, a sports medicine specialist at Methodist Physicians Clinic.
Cold muscles are less pliable, so a warm up before you do your stretching can help make the stretches easier and safer.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends starting with 5 to 10 minutes of warm up before any strength or aerobic exercise, or even a walk. You can also do a quick cool down following your workout, which helps the body return to normal temperatures.
A warm up that incorporates both dynamic and static stretches can be very beneficial for increasing range of motion, improving flexibility, and preventing injuries.
It also reduces lactic acid buildup and muscle fatigue. Lactic acid is a byproduct of oxygen breakdown that can build up during high-intensity exercise, compromising performance and causing pain.
Flexibility stretches, however, dissolve the lactic acid and promote proper blood flow to the muscles. This also improves your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients and energy it needs for the next workout, so you can get more out of your session.
While a warm up may seem to be a waste of time, it actually is very important for maximizing your exercise performance. Research shows that the right warm up can lead to better results, and if done properly, it can keep you out of the emergency room, and avoid re-injury.