Okay so we have all been in the situation where we have a strict amount of time to get our workout in, and a warmup just wasn’t cutting it. Warmups are an extremely essential part of a workout, and in some cases can determine if the workout results in more harm than help.
So what is a warmup?
A warmup is usually a combination of light cardiovascular activity and stretching. The movements done during a warmup mimic what will be done in the workout. For instance, if you are going to be lifting heavy weight squats, a body-weight squat in place can be done during your warmup.
When doing this the body begins to adjust or “get ready” for exercise. The cardiovascular exercises will gently increase heart rate and body temperature before beginning the workout. Stretching helps to prepare the muscles and joints for the exercise. This is why it is important to mimic the exercises that will be done in the actual workout. If you are going to be lifting upper body, it wouldn’t be effective to do lower body stretches.
Again, a warmup helps to prepare the body for what’s to come. Jumping right into a workout without waking your muscles up first can lead to injury. We all forget, but the heart is also a muscle! This is why a little cardiovascular movement to gradually increase heart rate is beneficial.
Injury prevention is the main reason for a warmup, but it helps to increase the quality of your workouts as well. Think about how much better your body can move when it is loose and prepared to move.
In the world of health and fitness the answer to most questions is, “it depends on the individual”. The length will depend on what kind of workout you will be doing, if you have been injured previously, your age, your fitness level, what your goals are, and many other factors. Generally, your warmup should last between ten and thirty minutes total. This gives you time to warmup both physically and mentally.
Next time you get up and get moving make sure to include a warmup!
Article written by GUADS member Breanna with contributions from nsmi.org.uk