Before you start working out, it’s important to warm up. Warming up can help reduce the risk of injury by preparing your muscles, joints, and nervous system to handle the physical demands of your workout. Additionally, a properly stretched and flexed muscle has more space to fill with blood—a condition called venous return—which leads to a more efficient oxygen release from your red blood cells.
If you aren’t stretching and foam rolling as part of your warm-up routine as well, there is even greater benefit to incorporating these activities into it. In this blog we’ll look at what benefits warming up has for both you and those around you. In addition, we’ll discuss the key elements of a good warm-up routine and how much time you need for one.
What Is a Good Warm-Up?
A good warm-up routine can help you avoid injury by making sure your muscles are warmed up and ready to perform. A pre-workout warm-up can help with flexibility, balance, coordination, and mobility, and it can help to remove lactic acid build-up in the muscle. When you perform a warm-up routine, you’re not just getting ready for your workout. You’re also getting ready for the next few hours of your day when you are at work, being active, and moving around. A good warm-up routine should make you feel like you have a bit more energy and have removed any feelings of soreness or stiffness from the day before. During the warm-up, you’re trying to get the blood flowing to your muscles and joints. This helps to remove any waste products that might build up after your day was over, and it also makes sure that your muscles are warm and not too cold due to the air temperature. If you start working out too early, your muscles will be too cold and will be prone to injury.
Research has shown the importance of a warm-up
It has been shown that warming up can decrease the risk of injury by up to 59% during a strength training session. However, you don’t have to warm up for the full 60 minutes of your workout, research has shown that warming up for at least 10 minutes can provide the same benefits. Warming up can also improve performance during a workout. For example, if you have strained your back, a warm-up can reduce the risk of injury by up to 72%. If you have joint pain while performing an exercise, a warm-up can ease symptoms and improve your performance by up to 67%. Another important aspect of warming up is increasing blood flow to your muscles. This can increase the amount of oxygen your muscles can use to perform the exercise and can reduce fatigue.
When to do your warm-up routine
There are a few ways you can warm up for your workout depending on the type of workout you’re doing. For example, if you are doing a slow or endurance activity, then you can just perform your mobility exercises to help loosen your muscles, joints, and ligaments. On the other hand, if you are doing a high-intensity strength training or power workout, then you will want to perform a more intense warm-up and perform agility exercises to get your joints, muscles, and nerves ready to perform. When to start your warm-up routine also depends on the type of exercises you are doing. For example, if you are doing cardio, then you can start your warm-up routine as soon as you get out of bed.
Don’t skip the cool down after your workout
As important as warming up is, it is critical that you don’t skip the cool-down and stretch routine after your workout. You want to slowly decrease the intensity of your workout over the course of approximately 20 to 50 minutes, which will help to reduce blood pressure and heart rate. By performing the cool-down routine, you will help to remove waste products and improve muscle recovery. A proper cool-down routine is especially important if you are performing high-intensity workouts as it is important to slowly decrease the intensity of the workout to prevent your muscles from being too warm.
What happens when you overdo it?
As we said, a warm-up is a great way to warm up your muscles and joints. But if you overdo it and warm up for too long, your muscles will be too cold and become prone to injury especially when they are not properly stretched. Warming up your muscles can help to remove waste products from your muscles that can build up after your day is over. When you don’t stretch or perform a cool-down routine, these waste products build up and can cause you to be less energetic and even cause minor injuries. If you overdo your warm-up, you could also be increasing your risk of an overuse injury. Overuse injuries are when a minor injury turns into a bigger problem. When you warm up, you want to make sure that you don’t overdo it and cause an injury, but instead use the warm-up to get your muscles ready for the activity you’ll be performing.
Now that you know what warming up is and why you need to do it, it’s time to get started. Start with a 10-minute routine that gently mobilizes your muscles to remove any stiffness or soreness from the previous day. Next, perform some light cardio to warm up your heart rate and increase the amount of oxygen flowing to your muscles. Improve your flexibility with some basic static and dynamic stretches while removing any knots and cramps using a foam roller. Now that your muscles are warm and ready, you can start your workout by performing your warm-up exercises.
Here are some inexpensive warm up and recovery equipment we recommend:
Look out for more fitness related blogs in the future! Remember, with COREFX, the gym is where you are.