If you are interested in going to the gym or doing any other physical activity, you have probably heard a million times that you need to warm-up well before you start exercising.
Different people have different reasons why they believe that the warm-up is obligatory, but everyone agrees that you should not skip it. The majority of quality gyms have professional, qualified fitness instructors/personal trainers who can help you with anything you may need.
So, here are some reasons why a warm-up session is a good thing.
Reason 01: Warm-up or Stretching
A lot of people conflate these two into one concept. On the one hand, these two typically go together before the main body of your workout. On the other hand, these two things are completely different and have a different purpose.
Stretching has a singular purpose of … well stretching your muscles and preparing them for what is to come. However, stretching does not raise the (core) temperature of your body which it needs to operate at an optimal level. This is what warm-up exercises are for. These exercises are not too intensive, but they do provide enough heat to your muscles.
You need to do both of these before you start exercising in earnest if you want to prevent injuries and overstraining of your muscles. Fortunately, gyms offer a variety of different amenities for both warming-up and stretching.
Reason 02: Warm-Up to Prepare Yourself Mentally
Getting yourself into a workout mindset is important if you want to get visible results:
- You need to motivate yourself;
- To push your body a bit beyond what you did the last time; and
- Finally, achieve your goal.
However, you cannot be in this ‘workout mode’ all the time.
It takes some mental preparation and a light warm-up session is the perfect time for this. On the one hand, you are already engaged in a physical effort, but on the other hand, you are not doing anything over the top or potentially dangerous/strenuous – so you can focus more on your mental state than on the exercises themselves.
Reason 03: Warm-Up to Get Your Blood Flowing
During a particularly strenuous workout session, your body is under a lot of stress and it creates a lot of lactic acid in your muscles. This substance is a side effect of muscular activity and is normally removed by the blood.
However, if you jump straight into an intensive activity at the gym, your body, and particularly your vascular system, will come under enormous strain – with the potential for injury. Normally, your blood circulates at a steady pace and if you start pushing your body without a prior warm-up, your vascular system simply won’t be able to catch up, and you will get really tired very quickly.
In contrast, with just 10 minutes of warming-up, you will have put your vascular system into the workout mode and it will be more prepared to follow the demands your muscles put on it by increasing your heart-rate, blood flow, and exercise intensity.
Reason 04: Warm-Up to Reduce the Risk of Injury
A lot of injuries happen as a result of improperly warmed (and/or stretched) muscles which simply weren’t ready for the kind of stress they were exposed to.
However, keep in mind that you do have your limits and that no amount of warming-up will prevent you from getting injured if you go too far, too quickly. Patience is very important at the gym. Take your time to build strength and gradually you will be able to achieve your goals with enough persistence and dedication.