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 right state for it.
So, before you even think about rolling out your Pilates mat, running or doing your online HIIT workout, you must make sometime 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 somehow empowers me – maybe it will do the same for you. Sort of like a strong tree in the blowing wind, nothing can break me! That’s the physical part of it.
The other part of it for me 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 me-time. Time spent on just me and my body and a place where I don’t have to relate to anyone else or their expectations to me.
The 10-15 minute warm-up is a time that I spend getting into the mind-set of me. I create a distance between anything else I’ve done that day and anything else that lies after. Instead, I set my mind to put complete focus on my body and what it is that I’m going to do for just me in a short period of time where I will be exercising.
Here are four reminders why it’s important to warm up before you 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 allow 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 it fact you should add some stretches to your warm ups too. Stretching is great to warm up you 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.