Eager to exercise and get fit?
You might not want to spend the few minutes it takes to warm up before you totally dive into your high-intensity workout. But as it happens, not warming up can actually be harmful to your health, and make your workout less effective.
Here are five reasons you should always do a solid warm-up before you really get into exercising.
1. Dilation of Blood Vessels
Doing some gentle exercises before you really push it, like a slow jog, jumping jacks or a brisk walk, can help increase the diameter of your blood vessels. So that when you do ramp it up, your circulatory system is prepared for the onslaught of blood rushing through it as your heart rate increases.
Dilated blood vessels also mean that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood through your body, meaning better circulation, better performance, and less stress on your heart.
2. Increased Body Temperature
There’s a reason a warm-up is called a warm-up – it actually increases the temperature of your body! This makes your muscles looser and more flexible, which can both prevent injury and ensure that they’re moving at their best once you increase your speed and power.
Increasing your core temperature also helps your nerves transmit signals more efficiently, leading to better coordination and muscle contraction.
3. Better Cooling
Warming up also has a slightly surprising effect: it makes you feel cooler while you’re working out. Why? It’s because as you warm up, you start to sweat. As the sweat does its job and evaporates, you start to cool off. This cooling continues as you start to sweat more.
If you don’t warm up and get your body’s cooling systems going, it will take longer for them to become active and you’ll feel hotter throughout your workout.
4. Hormone Production
Your body releases hormones when you exercise, many of which are used in the conversion of carbohydrates and fats into energy to propel your body. A warm-up causes your body to start releasing these hormones, which enables you to more efficiently transform your body into a calorie-burning machine.
Not only does this mean that your workout will be more effective in doing awesome things for your body, but you’ll also feel less tired and have increased stamina because your body won’t have to work as hard to scrounge around for fuel.
5. Mental Focus
Finally, getting a slower start to your workout helps you psychologically prepare for the challenges ahead. You can clear your mind of all of your worries and stray thoughts, and focus on getting the most that you possibly can out of your exercise session.
Increased mental focus has been shown to improve performance in tasks like lifting heavy weights, sprinting, and other forms of exercise that require intensity and concentration to power through.
What’s your favorite way to warm up before you exercise? Share your favorite warm up routines with us in the comments section!