In our hectic lives it is easy to try to convince oneself there is not enough time and skip a workout or, at least, warm up and jump immediately into action to save some time. But before you start your workout you really should take your time to warm up, no matter how ‘busy’ (or lazy) you are.
Why Should You Warm up Before Workout?
I knew you would ask it. Before going to details in how to warm up I will explain to you why you should warm up before a workout. Warming up warms your muscles and prepares your body for the workout ahead. It makes your heart pump, makes your blood supply more oxygen, increases the efficiency at which your muscles perform and take oxygen from your blood. If you skip your warm up, your muscles will be cold and unprepared making your workouts less efficient and making you more prone to injuries. You want to lift as heavy as possible, right? Taking the time to warm up will allow you to lift heavier and exert more strength. Besides, skipping warm up completely and lifting like a hulk straight away will put you into a serious risk of pulling your muscles and getting injured. Not only is it extremely painful but it will set you back for months to go away from training as you undergo rehabilitation.
How to Warm up Before Workout?
Now we understand why warming up is important. Like promised, I will explain to you how to warm up now. To warm up you can essentially do anything that gets your heart pumping and makes you feel warm. If you really are one of those busy (or lazy) folks mentioned earlier you might want to try doing your warm ups like I do them. My personal favourite is to warm up as well as I can without devoting much into the actual warm up. After my day is over and it’s time to return back to home I will walk back to home. I will walk as fast as I can to get warmed up. If I have to buy groceries, I will go buy them on the way back home so I will get even more warmed up by carrying my groceries. You can also do cleaning, household chores or anything useful (or necessary) before working out shortening the time you need to devote for a specific warm up.
But if you want (or need) to do an actual warm up, you can do that as well. So what should I do to warm up? Okay, let me paraphrase that question into ”What can I do to make my heart pumping and warm up my body?” See how this question is immediately a lot easier to answer? You can do jogging still, star jumps, burpees, push ups etc. But remember your warm up should really be just a warm up, not an actual workout. The purpose is to make your body warm and it should feel relatively easy. Do not exert too much of you strength. Everyone has a different kind of warm up depending on their strength level. What constitutes as a warm up for someone else might be harder than your actual workout! Your warm up should always be easier and lighter than your actual workout.
One more thing I would like to remind you is you have to be aware what exercises you will be doing. You should warm up the same muscles as you will be using in your warm up. Even after you have been jogging, jumping rope etc you shouldn’t go lifting heavy just yet. First take light weights to lift and perform one set. Now increase your weights and do another warm up set. Once more for a third time. Now you should finally be ready to take on your full workout load and start lifting. You will want to set these warm ups lifts at certain percentages of your workout weight. Experiment what works best for you.
How Long Should You Warm up?
”Hey, I ran fast for almost a minute, my heart is beating like a rocket now! I’m ready!” No, not just yet. Your warm up isn’t a race. Your warm up duration will depend on the actual workout you will perform but 10-20 mins will be a good starting point for warming up. Take your time, do not rush it. You should at the very least have your heart pumping and feel warm. A good warm up will make you sweating which is a good sign you have warmed up enough. You are now ready for your workout. But before you start warming up and head to workout, let’s cover one more often underlooked topic.
How to Cool Down After Workout?
I know most of you are calling it over and carrying on with the rest of the day by the time you finish your last exercise. I was like ”What!?! Can’t I just end it now?” when I first heard about cooling down. But the truth is, just like you get your time to warm up before starting your workout, you should take your time to cool down after you workout.
So how to cool down after a workout? Cooling down doesn’t have to be complex. You can cool down by doing what you did to warm up or do some brisk walking. Cooling down should take at least 5-10 minutes. The goal of cooling down is to let your heart rate slowly lower without a sudden stop. If you don’t take your time to cool down, your blood will start building in your veins and you might even feel like you might pass out.
I can relate to this myself: when I went to jogging in Thailand for the first time I wasn’t yet used to the hot weather and I was sweating like crazy while jogging. I felt very hot, thirsty and exhausted. When I decided to stop jogging, I stopped it immediately without taking the time to cool down. I started feeling extremely hot, I could feel the blood building up in my body and especially in my head. I felt like I could pass out at any moment. Luckily after the first time I was more used to the hot weather. Although my example is most likely more extreme than is the case with your daily workout, I assume you get the point.
Now you know the reasons to warm up, how to warm up and even how to cool down after your workout. You may now go warming up and get started with your workout (or continue reading my articles ;))! If you have any questions or comments, you can leave them down below!