We all know that a key to any good, healthy, and safe workout is to warm up beforehand, but do you know why that is? Warming up before a workout prepares our bodies so that we don’t overextend ourselves during our fitness routines, helping to maintain our overall wellness.
Whether you’re lifting weights and strength training or doing LISS training for beginners, a warmup is important for exercise performance, injury prevention, working muscles, and more.
Thankfully, there are a million ways to warm up before you hit the gym or go for a nice run outside. But what exactly is warming up, what does it look like, and why does it matter? Let’s get into it!
What Is A Warm Up?
Does This mean I finally have an excuse to take a beach trip?
Well, you don’t need a permission slip from us to bask in some sunshine. But unfortunately, no, a beach vacation isn’t exactly what we’re talking about—warming up before a workout requires more activity than just lounging in the sun all day. And thankfully, there’s a bit less of a risk of sunburn.
Warming up involves moving your body to increase blood flow and flexibility before any kind of physical exercise. The intensity of warming up is largely up to you and can be anything from some gentle forms of yoga to some stretching and a light jog. However, it should be gradual. Jumping into something extremely physically challenging right off the bat is a recipe for injury. When your body has had time to warm up, it is more capable of physical challenges, so warm-ups are essential.
What Does Warming Up Do?
Warming up generally refers to about 10 to 15 minutes of gentle exercise that helps to ease your body into other kinds of more intense workouts. Usually, warm-up exercises serve two purposes: increasing your body’s core temperature (hence the word “warm” up) and stretching your joints and muscles.
This is why yoga and stretching are some of our favorites when warming up. They’re easy, gentle, and perfect to get your body and mind aligned before you begin something that requires more mental and physical energy and intensity.
Why Do I Need To Warm Up?
Warming up your body temperature before any type of physical activity is important for many reasons. We’ve seen time and time again the importance that making time before you exercise to take care of your body in some way has on your long-term health. There are so many benefits of warming up, and excluding it from your workout does much more harm than good.
Even if you prefer a low intensity exercise rather than strength training and high intensity, for example, warming up for any workout routine is essential. Let’s dive into some benefits of this.
While there are quite literally endless benefits and reasons why you should always make time to warm up before a workout, let’s jump into just a few of our favorites.
Improved Fitness Performance
We all love to reap the benefits of our harvest. And being able to notice significant improvements from one week to the next in our bodies and our abilities can feel incredible. Warming up helps guarantee that our bodies will be in peak performance as we continue to exercise. This means that you’ll feel prepared, healthy, and strong for the long run as you progress throughout your workouts and accomplish more and more fitness goals at Chuze.
Lower Risk of Injury
At the end of the day, we all want to go home from the gym feeling proud of our hard work and stronger than when we walked in. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Injuring yourself during a workout is painful and disheartening. While sometimes injuries are unavoidable, warming up is key to prevent injury later on when you’re really challenging yourself.
Warming up reduces your risk of injury because it loosens up your joints and increases blood flow throughout the body. Because of this, your body is more prepared to move, which makes you less likely to pull a muscle or encounter other injuries. Just taking 10 to 15 minutes to warm up can help guarantee that your body will be fit for you to continue maintaining your body through exercise without overextending yourself. A body or muscular injury can mean you have to sit out for a while, so it doesn’t hurt to take a few minutes to warm up for injury prevention.
Increased Blood Flow and Oxygenation
If we remember anything from high school biology, it’s that blood flow is required for a lot of things, and the more we have of it, the healthier our bodies can function and heal. Increasing the oxygen in our bodies allows us to continue to survive and thrive. Blood carries oxygen and essential nutrients throughout the body and removes toxic byproducts along the way. So when blood is pumping at a faster rate, it can deliver more of the good stuff faster while also getting rid of the bad stuff better.
Improved Motion Range
If you’re wondering about warm up exercises, a simple one is stretching. Stretching is a common form of warming up before a workout because it improves your range of motion. This extra time and space to stretch further loosen up the joints and muscles, gently easing the body into exercise mode. Instead of muscles and joints that are tight, warming up allows them to increase their capacity for flexibility (further preventing injury, too).
Prevents Sore Muscles
One of the most appreciated effects of warm-up exercise is how much it can prevent you from feeling sore and stuff afterward. As we stated earlier, diving into a strenuous exercise without warming up puts unnecessary strain on muscles and joints, which can be felt long after your workout concludes. Prevent muscle soreness with a few minutes of warming up before you get into lifting weights and strength training.
Start Warming Up!
Now that you know the benefits of warming up, consider making it a habit before any physical activity. Not only does it improve blood flow and prevent injury and muscle soreness, but it can also wake your body and muscles up and get you ready for your exercise routine.
And, a quick pro-tip, practicing mindfulness and gratitude while you warm up those muscles is a fabulous way to integrate multiple habits into your routine (see: habit stacking). We’re sure you’ll feel the difference throughout and long after your workout. Stop by your local Chuze to warm up and work out at our state-of-the-art fitness centers. See you soon!
Find your favorite warm up exercise and complete your workout routine with Chuze Fitness!