A warm-up should be done before each workout session: cardio, strength training, and even stretching-based classes like yoga. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time since 5-10 minutes is typically all you need to get your body ready for working out. Plan to spend more time warming up for very intense workouts, whereas you can spend less time warming up for low- to moderate-intensity workouts.
Warming up before you workout will…
1. Increase blood flow to your working muscles, better preparing them for the additional workload to come.
2. Increase the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, which prevents you from getting out of breath too early or too easily.
3. Prepare your heart gradually for an increase in activity, helping you avoid a rapid increase in blood pressure.
4. Prime your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise, which can improve the quality of your workout.
5. Improve coordination and reaction times.
6. Reduce the chance of soft tissue (ligament, tendon, and muscle) injuries by allowing your muscles and joints to move through a greater range of motion easily—and safely.
7. Lubricate your joints for easier (and less painful) movement.
8. Increase blood temperature, which can allow you to work out longer or harder.
9. Prompt hormonal changes in the body responsible for regulating energy production.
10. Help mentally prepare you for the workout ahead, giving you a few minutes to get “pumped up” for a great workout!
Not sure how to warm up? A warm up can be a lower intensity version of the activity you are about to do, or it can be something different. A proper warm up gradually raises your heart rate and gets your muscles primed for activity.
Written by Grace Selwitschka, Certified Personal Trainer at Elite Sports Club-North Shore
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. All material in this article is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise, or other health program.