Why warming up is important
The truth is, it’s very important to warm up your body before starting to exercise. If you warm up properly before exercising, it will not only prevent injuries, it will make your workouts more effective too.
We need to warm up our bodies before exercising to prepare the body for the pressure we are going to expose it to. This helps to eliminate injuries as the body can better cope with pressure and stress once in the correct state of being.
So, before you even think about rolling out your Pilates mat, running, or doing your online HIIT workout, you must take some time to warm up and do a few stretches.
The state we want our body to be in when we are using it for exercising is strong, ready, and fresh. Thinking about that visual image can be empowering. Sort of like a strong tree in the blowing wind, nothing can break you! That’s the physical part of it.
The other part of it is the mental preparation. We run around all day trying to balance loads of roles where we need to be amazing. The career needs to be great, we need to look amazing, be the perfect parent, a health expert, a great partner and the list goes on. Exercising is essential ‘me time’. Think about it, it’s time spent on just ‘me and my body’ in a place where ‘I don’t have to relate to anyone else or their expectations of me.’ In theory and practice, it’s a very positive thing.
The 10-15 minute warm-up is a time spent getting into the correct mindset. Creating a distance between anything else done that day and anything else that lies after. Instead, set the mind to fully focus on the body and what it is that you’re going to do for just YOU in a short period of time where you will be exercising.
Here are four reminders of why it’s important to warm up before your workout:
1. To prep your body by increasing body and muscle temperature
It’s important to get in a decent warm-up before exercise to raise your body temperature – this is helpful for your muscles as when the temperature of your muscles increases, oxygen moves around your body allowing them to contract and relax more easily. This allows your body to perform more strenuous tasks with ease. It also gets your heart and blood pumping – meaning you’re in the right zone and won’t become strained too easily.
2. It reduces your risk of injury
Warming up is the best way to decrease your chances of injuring yourself while working out. This is because warming up improves muscle elasticity and allows for efficient cooling, meaning less chance of accidentally hurting yourself or overheating while exercising.
3. It helps you to get in the zone and mentally prepare
Warming up is not just about preparing your body for a good workout, it’s also about preparing you mentally too. If you take time to get in the zone prior to commencing your workout, you are more likely to stick with and challenge yourself to push yourself throughout exercising. While warming up think about your health goals, remind yourself you are doing a great job by showing up for your fitness routine each time, and think about the journey to success on this road.
4. To help improve your flexibility
There’s a common misconception that stretching is something you only do after exercising when in fact you should add some stretches to your warm-ups too. Stretching is great to warm up your body as it increases blood flow to your muscles and helps improve your flexibility. If you’re not well stretched before working out and therefore haven’t loosened up and push your flexibility, you are more likely to suffer from an injury. So get stretching as part of your warm-up.