Why is warm-up important before exercise? A Complete Guide.

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Let’s suppose you have decided to step into the world of fitness; the first thing it requires you to do is adopt a flexible routine that includes a daily workout. Are you ready for the challenge? Entering into a new lifestyle can often be scary and overwhelming, but always remember that fitness comes with its pros and has zero cons attached to its side. It only asks for enthusiasm, willpower, and consistency. If you have the guts to commit, rest assured, it’s your time to conquer your body. 

People may tell you it’s burdensome and demanding; they may be correct, but if heart and soul are put into a decision, it is destined to become a reality. Before you get started, there are some essential things you need to know. Let’s start with warm-up exercises. 

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What is meant by warm-up exercise?

Can you imagine going to sleep without brushing your teeth? It feels downright disgusting. Similarly, starting a heavy workout without a warm-up session sounds unacceptable in the world of fitness gurus. 

warm up before running

A warm-up can be defined as a form of exercise whose intensity increases gradually over time. Jumping straight into a strenuous workout can be harmful to the vital organs and the muscles. It is essential to prepare the body with simple exercises by slowly elevating the pace depending upon a person’s stamina and strength.

The question is, how can you tell if the warm-up is effective? If you notice an increase in the heart rate followed by sweating, you are doing it right. It helps reduce any chance of muscle injury. Furthermore, it puts you in the right frame of mind to get the workout started. 

The significance of warm-up sessions. 

Often, people skip the warm-up sessions casually, considering them unimportant and a waste of time. They believe that trying heavy workout machines is better for their muscles and overall health as their strain on the muscles is far greater. Such a notion is nothing but a disgrace to the experts that have spent a lifetime telling others about the wonders of a warm-up session. 

A warm-up session creates a notable improvement in the blood flow throughout the body, which provides excess oxygen to the muscles. As a result, the muscles get warmed up by the rush of blood, which improves performance. Moreover, it prepares the nerve pathways for exercise because of which muscle tension is reduced. 

Best warm-up exercises to try: 

  1. Planks: 

There is no doubt that time seems to stop as soon as you get into a plank position. However, no matter how badly you despise planks, they are among the best warm-up exercises present. It focuses greatly on strengthening the core and lower back and helps fix posture. Variations can be made depending upon the person’s capability.

plank exercise

How to: 

  • Lay down on the floor and plant your hands and feet tightly on the ground. Slowly pull yourself upwards, making sure the shoulders are aligned with the wrists, and the back is straight. Stay in the position for 20–50 seconds, or as long as you can. 

2. Lunges:

The most thrilling warm-up exercise is possibly lunges. They are fun and straightforward and provide lots of benefits, i.e., strengthening the core, focusing on the glutes and thighs by targeting the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. Moreover, they also help in recovering improper posture and enhance flexibility.

stretch

  How to:

  • Stand in an upright position with your feet wide apart. Put forward one leg in such  a way that it  forms a 90-degree angle. Makes sure the hind leg is parallel to the ground. Now, bring the front leg back and repeat 10–15 times. 
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3. Squats: 

Squats are a common exercise that is well-known for the results they achieve. They help tremendously in strengthening the core and the lower back while increasing flexibility and promote fat loss. The most exciting part is they can be done almost anywhere and require minimal effort. 

How to: 

  • Stand in an upright position with your feet hip-width apart, push your feet into the ground and bring your chest forward. Now, push your hips out while slowly bending until they are parallel to the floor. Stay for 3–5 seconds. Repeat 10–15 times. 
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4. Arm reach with circles:

While most of the focus is given to the lower body, it is important to pay attention to the upper body as well. The blood flow increases remarkably with this exercise while strengthening the biceps, triceps, and shoulders. It also helps in enhancing the overall range of motion. 

How to: 

  • Stand in an upright position in such a way that your feet are shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms out parallel to the ground and rotate them at a 360-degree angle. Proceed with it for 10 seconds before changing the direction. 

5. Wall Angels: 

An excellent way to balance the posture is through wall angels. They help strengthen the back and shoulder blade, because of which arm rotation is improved. It’s engaging and straightforward and doesn’t call for an extra amount of energy. 

How to: 

  • Stand in an upright position and push your back and arms towards the wall. Bend the elbows such that they form a 90-degree angle and slowly bring them up and down.

6. Inchworms:

If you are looking to focus on the front as well as the back body, inchworms are what you need to try. It focuses on the arms, back, chest and core and improves the strength and flexibility of a person. This exercise is usually slow but intense. 

How to: 

  • Stand in an upright position and make sure the body is aligned correctly. Bring the hands down to touch the feet but do not bend your knees. Now, walk your hands forward until the body is parallel to the ground. At this stage, bring your legs forward until they are near to the hands. Slowly get back to the starting position. 

7. Jumping rope: 

Jumping rope is a well-known warm-up exercise that almost everyone admires because of how easy it is. It focuses on the calves, core and includes shoulder activity. Balance is also improved. 

jump rope

How to:

  • Stand in an upright position with your feet hip-width apart. Hold both ends of the rope with your hands and bring it forward and backwards while jumping simultaneously. There are several ways to jump a rope, and a person can customize it according to their will. 
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8. Bird Dogs:

Are you looking for something that engages your abs the most? Bird dogs are known for warming up the abs and strengthening the core. Mastering the art of this exercise is challenging and may take some time. Nevertheless, they are excellent at getting the job done. 

How to: 

  • Place knees on the ground in such a way that they are perfectly aligned with the hips. Keep the upper body parallel to the ground while planting the hands on the ground. Slowly lift the right hand and the left leg and move it forward and backwards. Make sure both are in sync. Switch the positions and complete 30–60 seconds. 
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BENEFITS OF WARM-UP EXERCISE:

  1. Oxygen intake: 

Warm-up sessions before an intense workout can improve and enhance the oxygen intake of the body. But how? All of us are aware that warm-ups involve activity in which intensity and level of difficulty increase with time. Because of this, the heart rate is elevated, which makes breathing heavier, and as a result, the oxygen intake is increased. 

2. Increased flexibility: 

A warm-up session helps prepare the muscles for the heavy sets of weights and machines, increasing flexibility and loosens the joints. The loosening of the joints helps avoid any possibility of an injury. All in all, the sessions are beneficial. 

3. Improved blood flow: 

The most important benefit associated with warm-up sessions is the fact that they can increase the blood flow all over the body. Increased blood flow means a large amount of oxygen is being delivered to the muscles, which reduces the likelihood of muscle fatigue. Therefore, the overall performance is also boosted up. 

Conclusion: 

There’s no doubt that a warm-up session increases the likelihood of a stellar performance during a strenuous workout. However, specific considerations must be made; the sessions should be brief and precise, and they should not place an undue strain on the cardiovascular system. Also, make sure that excessive energy is not consumed during it. Keep in mind that the time interval between the session and the actual workout is short-lived because if care is not taken, all the efforts may go in vain. Just make sure the time invested and the energy spent is worth it.

If warm-up sessions bore you, ask a friend to join you. This will keep things interesting to a large degree, and you will have someone to inspire you on the days when you are feeling lazy. If you are someone who always finds an excuse to skip the sessions, it’s about time you take responsibility. 

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