Very often, we show up late to a group workout and simply just jump right in — with no warm up period. Or, we just don’t have a lot of time, so we skip warming up, thinking that the main activity is more important.
Is a warm up really necessary, and what is a “good” warm up? Here are some reasons as to why you should warm up before any type of workout.
Your Overall Performance Will be Enhanced
Warming up properly provides two major benefits: Enhanced performance and injury prevention. You should think of warming up as both physical and mental.
Warming up properly is strongly linked to preventing injuries, so this may be the most important reason to warm up. Keeping your muscles warm and prevent injuries such as hamstring strains and can prevent injuries caused by overuse. If you are engaging in more static sports, you should try to stretch and keep your body warmed up — especially if you are on the sidelines, waiting to join the game.
Part of a warm-up process will let your head “get in the game” so to speak. Preparing mentally for the workout or game can help improve skill levels, technique and even coordination.
The mental warm up can also help prepare you for the discomfort that may be involved with your workout or sports activity. When your mind is sufficiently prepared to endure that discomfort, you are like to perform better. If your head is prepared or willing to endure the discomfort, is almost certain your performance will be negatively affected.
What Happens During a Warm Up Period?
Most warm-up sessions include a combination of cardio exercises, stretching, and strength training.
The warm up will prepare your body by gradually increasing circulation and heart rate, loosen up your joints, and increase blood flow to the muscles. Stretching during your warm up will prepare the muscles for the upcoming physical activity. Warm ups will also provide an opportunity to mentally prepare for the exercise routine or game. If you are working as a team this is especially important — as well as a great opportunity to practice skills and engage in team drills.
Many ask “how long should I warm up?” While there is no hard evidence as to exact warm up times, most recommendations indicate a 10- to 20-minute range. Longer warm ups might be needed if you will be engaging in extra high-intensity activities.
So, really the final thoughts as to why you should warm up before any type of work out are that to prevent injuries and mentally prepare yourself, you should always take the time to warm up.
At ZeroPoint Compression, we do understand the importance of proper warm ups and cool downs to keep you in peak fitness levels. If you have any questions, please contact us!