We’ve all skipped a warm up before. It happens. We’re crunched for time and want to squeeze in a workout, so we skip the warm up. Or, maybe you arrive to your race late and need to jump right into the run. It seems like an easy shortcut. But you’re not doing your body, or your workout, any favors. Warming up before you exercise helps prevent injury and can increase your performance capabilities.
Keep reading for the many reasons why warming up is a necessary part of every single workout.
Then try out the warmups in the Aaptiv app.
You’ll avoid injury
Arguably the number one reason you should always warm up: injury prevention. Research has shown that 15 minutes or more of warming up helps prevent muscle injuries. Isometric preconditioning, a.k.a. your warm up, helps prevent injury by increasing the length and elasticity of the muscle-tendon unit. In other words, your muscles will be better adapted to the repeated lengthening and shortening that happens during exercise. And, thus, less likely to tear.
A proper warm up—approximately 10 to 15 minutes—will help reduce muscle pulls and strains, overuse, and injuries like tendonitis. Unfortunately, no amount of warming up is going to prevent broken bones or fractures. But, best to avoid any injuries you can.
If you’re planning on doing a high intensity workout (like the ones on Aaptiv), it’s especially important to make sure that you have time to warm up first. Going from nothing to full throttle puts a lot of stress on our bodies and puts you in a position to hurt yourself.
You’ll have a better workout.
Preventing strains isn’t the only thing warm ups do. A good warm up may also improve your workout. When it comes to performance, the purpose of the warm up is to get your blood flowing and increase your body temperature.
Warming up increases your muscle blood flow, sensitivity of nerve receptors, and the speed of nervous impulses. Meaning: you’ll perform at a higher level if you allow your body to get things warmed up.
You’ll mentally prepare.
Warming up also provides time to get your mind focused, whether you’re blowing off steam or getting in a race mindset. Think about what you have planned for your workout or race and you might have an easier go at it. It gets your mind ready to overcome any discomfort or discouraging thoughts that might pop up during your workout.
What To-Do and What To Avoid
Warming up should not be a zero to 100 type of deal. Be patient and take it slow. Pushing your body too hard during a warm up will be counteractive.
- Aim to dedicate 10 to 20 minutes to your warm up. Play around with the length, as the ideal time varies with individuals.
- Find a stick to a good warm up routine; this will dependant on your workout or race. Pro athletes have specific warm-ups, and they stick to them for a reason.
- Take a little longer if you’ll be doing a HIIT workout.
- Incorporate breathing.
- Make your it intense. It should build gradually.
- Assume static stretching has you covered.
Your warm up is yours; it doesn’t have to be like anyone else’s. It could change depending on weather, the type of workout you’ll be doing, or whether or not you’re competing in a race. Try out different routines until you find one that works best for you.
Warm ups are classified in three major categories:
(a) Passive warm up: increases temperature by some external means
(b) General warm up: increases temperature by nonspecific body movements
(c) Specific warm up: increases temperature using similar body parts that will be used in the subsequent, more strenuous activity.
Try to warm up (at minimum) the muscle groups you’ll be using that day if you’re in a crunch.
Aaptiv has warmups in several categories, including strength training, running, yoga, and more. Try one today.