Though they may be tempting to skip, warm-ups are an important part of every workout. Warming up before a workout lessens the risk of injury, improves performance, and aids in recovery.
Much like an engine, the body needs to heat up a little before undergoing rigorous work. The goal of warming up is quite literal. It will gradually increase the body’s temperature by raising heart rate and blood flow to the limbs. This gets the muscles, joints, and soft tissues ready for the workout to come.
Warming up before exercising or stretching lowers the risk of injury. The increased blood flow to muscles and soft tissues prepares them for sudden and explosive movements. This, in turn, lowers the risk for sprains and strains during exercise.
How to Properly Warm-Up
Ideally, you want to warm up before exercising and even stretching. Some individuals may even incorporate stretches or movements specific to a sport into their warm-up routine. However, any gentle aerobic exercise that gets the blood pumping will do the trick.
Examples of a good warm-up include a brisk walk, jog, jump rope, or jumping jacks. The optimal duration is about 15 minutes. Afterward, the body is ready to engage in more activity-specific warm-up exercises. Consider performing some that will target the muscle groups you will be recruiting in your upcoming strength training. Common examples may include lunges, hip rotations, or push-ups depending on the targeted muscle group.
Proper stretching is also integral to a safe and effective workout, as it improves range of motion and lowers the risk of injury during exercise. Your warm-up should come first, however. Stretching cold muscles is a very common source of injury. Saving you stretches until after your warm-up will ensure that the muscles and soft tissues have more blood available during your stretches.
In order to avoid overstretching, many athletes may choose to stretch during or even after a workout when the muscles are warmest. For more workout tips, visit one of our skilled personal trainers at CORE. We are well equipped with the knowledge and tools to help you reach your goals!