If you’re wondering why warm-up before exercise or what the benefits of warming up are, then you’re in the right place
One of the biggest questions facing anyone undertaking exercise is whether they should do warm-up exercises or not. The good news is that the research has already been done.
The simple fact is everyone should start warming up before a workout.
Here are some of the greatest benefits of warming up:
Reduce Injury Risk
If you’ve been exercising for any length of time you know that injuries are almost inevitable. They are also frustrating. You can run the same route every day for a year and suddenly find you pull a hamstring of developing plantar fasciitis. An injury can leave you unable to exercise for weeks, seriously disrupting your training schedule.
One of the best answers to why warm-up before exercise is to prevent those injuries from occurring.
It is worth noting that randomized trials struggle to confirm that warming up before a workout will prevent injuries.
But, the warm-up routine certainly won’t increase your chances of being injured.
It can be hard to find the motivation to get off the couch or out of bed on a cold winter’s day just to exercise. Even the most seasoned athletes have bad days! But, by putting your gear on and tacking some simple warm-up exercises you’ll prepare yourself mentally. It’s surprising how ready and eager you’ll feel to exercise after warming up!
Being mentally prepared will often have a positive impact on your performance.
Improved Blood Flow
One of the biggest issues, when you start exercising, is your body needs to quickly adjust from sedentary mode to performance. Without warming up this process can take several minutes, leaving you feeling exhausted as you start exercising.
Warming up before exercise means you’re heart is already beating faster, blood flow has been increased, and your organs are already primed with the nutrients they need. You’ll notice the difference.
What Makes A Good Warm-Up
Warm-ups are often referred to as stretches. There are two types of stretch, dynamic and static.
The dynamic stretch effectively mimics the movements you’re about to make, it loosens your muscles and tendons, ready for you to start exercising.
In contrast, static stretches involve adopting and holding a pose for 30-60 seconds. This maintains blood flow and nutrients to your muscles after exercise, reducing the likelihood of muscle soreness.
Dynamic stretches should be performed before your workout, static ones are for after.
The Right Warm-Up Exercise
The key to doing the right warm-up exercises lies in knowing what exercise you want to do. You’ll then be able to visualize which joints you’ll be using most. Your warm-up exercises should target those joints.
For example, if you’re considering doing some squats with a barbell then you’re going to need to warm-up your ankles and hips, these are the major joints involved in squats. They’ll be under a lot of stress, the greater the weight you hold the more the stress, warming them up first will help.
After warming the joints you will need to target the muscles you’ll be relying on. Bodyweight exercises are good for this, such as planks, box jumps, and even squats.
It’s also important to increase your heart rate, a few minutes of cardio should do this, such as running on the spot, jumping on a treadmill, or using your exercise bike.
Stay hydrated when warming up and exercising, you’ll notice the difference in your mental and physical abilities.
Suggested Warming Before Workout Moves
As mentioned, the exact warm-up you choose should be dependent on what exercise you’re about to undertake. But, the following three are good starting points for almost any type of exercise.
1. Dynamic Planks
These are great for all the muscles in your body, getting you ready for some cardio action.
2. Single Arm Rows
Single-arm rows focus on your hips, shoulders, and your back, opening it all up ready for exercise.
3. Glute Bridges
Unsurprisingly these work your glutes. But, they also help your core and your shoulders, ensuring you’re ready to workout.
Final Warming Up Before Workout
While research may suggest warming up before a workout may or not help prevent injury, this is not the only benefit of warming up. That’s why it’s so important to warm-up every time you exercise.
Of course, you should also allow yourself enough time to stretch after your workout. In effect, warming –down. This is just as important.