It’s great you’re so excited and eager to get started with your workout, but you should never get right into your workout without going through a warm up session first.
What is a Warm Up?
A “warm up” is just what it sounds like – a period of time spent warming your body up before a workout. This warm up helps prepare your body for the activity it’s about to do. You shouldn’t just get up from sitting down at the computer and dive into an intense HIIT session, because that puts a ton of unnecessary stress on your body. It’s like going from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds and that is definitely not good for the bod.
It’s like going into surgery with a construction worker doing the job. Sure, it might get done, but it’s just not a good idea.
With a proper warm up, blood flow is increased, and your cardiovascular system is revved up at a gradual pace, so your body is prepped for the workout instead of just getting shocked right into it. When your body is warmed up before a workout, your muscles are looser and less likely to end up sore or injured at the end of your workout.
How Do I Warm Up?
To warm up, you can pretty much do anything you want, as long as it lasts at least 5-10 minutes and gets your body moving so your heart rate speeds up and your body is prepared for the workout ahead.
Dynamic stretches are best for a warm up session, rather than static stretches, because they help get your muscles warm and ready for the workout ahead. Save the static stretches for after your workout, helping your body relax and bring your heart rate back down. Static stretches help decrease muscle tension and increase muscle relaxation, making them the ideal choice post-workout.
The type of warm up you should do depends on the type of workout – whether cardio or strength training. Stick with similar exercises to those in your workout, but at a less intense pace. Obviously the more intense your workout, the harder workout you need, to get your body ready. For a lighter workout, such as one including only bodyweight exercises, stick with a more basic warm-up.
What if I Don’t Have Time for a Warm Up?
Look, it’s great you’re willing to devote time to working out, and everyone should, but if you’re “not able” to add an extra five or ten minutes onto the time spent here, you should get your priorities sorted out. The whole reason you’re working out in the first place is because you care about your body and want to be fit and healthy, and skipping your warm up is only going to have negative effects on your body, so it doesn’t make much sense to skip it just to save yourself a few minutes. If anything, if you really need to, take that time off the workout instead. A proper warm up and cool down is important to help you get results and to help prevent injury.
It doesn’t matter whether you have a cardio or strength training workout planned – you need a workout to avoid injury and maximize the results of your workout. There are absolutely no disadvantages to fitting a warm up session in pre-workout.
But, there are lots of benefits, including increased muscle temperature, increased body temperature, and improved range of motion.
It’s pretty simple – if you don’t have time to warm up, you don’t have time to work out.