Do I Really Need to Warm-Up before Working Out?
The importance of a warm-up and what it should involve
Due to shrinking attention spans and busier-than-ever schedules, we all want to get to things as quickly as possible. Nobody wants to waste time waiting to do something, they want to just do it, as Nike so eloquently put it. But when it comes to working out, jumping right in is a mistake, and it’s one that can result in an ineffective workout or even injury. This is why a good warm-up is essential, but what exactly should this entail?
Why a warm-up should never be skipped
Any kind of workout puts stress on the body, especially the ligaments, joints, and heart, and warming up allows the body to get ready. A proper warm-up gets the blood flowing to the muscles, steadily increases the heart rate, and raises body temperature. When the body becomes warmer, this helps get oxygen to the muscles and heart quicker, allowing for better performance.
How to warm up properly
A good warm-up doesn’t have to be long; five or six minutes will usually suffice. If your workout will be particularly strenuous, this may need to be longer, and the same is true if you’ll be outside on a cold day. But the important thing to remember is that your warm-up shouldn’t be taxing. You don’t want to get worn out before you begin your actual workout. An effective routine can involve things like knee bends, shoulder rolls, and basic marching.
What not to do during your warm-up
If you are of a certain age, you probably grew up with everybody telling you how vital it was to stretch before doing anything. In gym class, you may have spent quite a while sitting or standing and reaching for your feet. This type of static stretching, it was said, was a great way to warm-up and also avoid injuries. The truth is that stretching isn’t the same thing as warming up, and, instead of preventing injuries, they may actually do the opposite.
“Stretching before a workout essentially damages your body before trying to perform,” says fitness guru Mary Johnson. “That doesn’t make much sense.”
Stretching does have its merits, however, but after a workout, Johnson added. “When you stretch, your body creates micro-tears in the muscles, which – if done properly and methodically after a workout – eventually improve flexibility.”
How do you know you’ve warmed up enough?
Warming up isn’t an exact science, and it’s different for everyone, but there are signs that can tell you when you’re ready to move on to your workout.
- You’re actually warm. The word “warm” should not be ignored. In order to have a good warm-up, your body temperature needs to go up. If you haven’t even broken a little sweat yet, you haven’t warmed up enough.
- You feel flexible. One of the most important parts of a warm-up is getting your joints and muscles prepared. Trying something like a lunge will let you know if there is any tightness you need to work on before your workout.
- Your mind’s ready, too. While a workout is mostly about your body, you can’t forget about the mental aspect. To have a productive workout, you should use your warm-up to focus on what you’ll be doing. And then once you’re ready, you can jump right in.
The post-workout is just as important as the pre-workout
After your workout is over, you shouldn’t just towel off and head home. It’s important to take the time to do things like a cool down. And if you’re experiencing any muscle aches, you can immediately treat them with a pain reliever like CopperGel. Pill-free, this roll-on offers relief right away either at home, in the gym, or on the go.
The direct application of a topical pain reliever also allows you to apply only as much as you need to get relief. It’s a smarter choice – especially for dealing with specific pain in muscle groups or joints. Questions or concerns? Please get in touch. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or just fill out our online contact form.