Staying fit and sticking to any workout regime requires dedication and commitment. In our fast-paced lives, there may be times where you might not have enough time to squeeze in a complete workout in your schedule. One of the biggest mistakes people make when pressed for time, is to cut short or maybe even altogether, skip the warmup or cool-down part of your workout.
What is a Workout Warmup?
A warmup is an essential part of any workout session. It has a direct impact on how successful the routine is. Warmups and cool-downs generally involve doing your activity at a slower pace and reduced intensity.
Warming up helps prepare your body for aerobic activity. A warmup gradually revs up your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles. Warming up may also help reduce muscle soreness and lessen your risk of injury. (Mayo Clinic, 2019)
Here Are Some Reasons Why a Workout Warmup is Essential
- If you skip a warmup before a workout, it increases your risk of injury. Though it may take a few minutes of your exercise session, skipping it causes stress to your heart and muscles.
- A warmup eases your muscles into the workout mode so you can make the most of your routine. Since it increases flexibility, it becomes easier to work out. It also increases your range of motion allowing safe extension of your joints.
- Beginning a workout when your muscles are not warmed up could affect the performance of your muscles. When muscles are warmed up, it reduces muscle tension and helps you to have a workout without any pain or stiffness.
- A warmup gets your mind into a focused state, so it begins preparing for the workout ahead. It also increases concentration and helps you stay relaxed.
Difference Between Warmup and Stretching
An important point to remember is that a warmup routine and stretching routine are different. Before your workout, perform your warmup first, followed by the stretching routine.
A warmup routine increases the blood and oxygen circulation in the body. It raises body temperature by one or two degrees. On the other hand, a stretching routine helps to get your muscles, ligaments, tendons ready for the grueling workout ahead.
How to Get Warmed Up
Start your warmup at a slow pace and increase the speed or difficulty level gradually. It’s best to start focusing on large muscle groups and then perform exercise specific to your activity or sport.
Some easy ways to get warmed up:
- A brisk walk or slow jog for 5 to 10 minutes is an excellent way to begin.
- Jumping rope is a good option if you are short of time. Spend 5 minutes of jumping rope and increase the tempo from mild to brisk.
- Squats are a versatile exercise that targets the large muscles in the lower body.
- Planks can be a good warmup routine. They help build core and back strength and improve posture and balance.
- Side lunges work on the lower body, and it strengthens your hips, glutes, and legs.
- Pushups are a classic exercise, and they focus on the upper body and core.
- Spot jogging gets your heart rate up and improves blood circulation. You can choose to do spot jogging if you have limited space to workout.
- Knee raises boost the endurance and strength of your hip flexor muscles.
How Long Should a Warmup Be?
It’s ideal to do some warmup and stretching exercises before and after your workout routine.
Try to spend at least 5 to 10 minutes, warming up. The more intense your workout is going to be, the longer your warmup should be.
Focus first on large muscle groups and then perform warmups that mimic some of the exercises you’ll do while you’re exercising. (Healthline, 2019)
By easing your muscles into exercise mode, you will be able to make the most of your time.
Before starting any new exercise program, it’s best to talk with your doctor. It is especially crucial if you haven’t worked out before or have any underlying health concerns or medical conditions. A good warmup and cool down help you make the most of your exercise routine and reduce your risk of injury exponentially.
“The Right Way to Warm up and Cool down.” Mayo Clinic. N.p., 09 July 2019. Web. 17 Aug. 2020.
Cronkleton, Emily. “Warmup Exercises: 6 Ways to Get Warmed Up Before a Workout.” Healthline. Healthline Media, 12 July 2019. Web. 17 Aug. 2020.