Warm up is extremely important before exercise to prepare your body prior to exercising and to reduce the risk of injuries.
However, many people, including you, may not know the importance of warm up before exercise.
The typical warm up most people do before exercise are wiggle-wiggle, jump-jump, hop-hop, twist, turn and tadaa! No that’s not how it works.
You can skip warm up and nothing will happen today, but you increase the risk of injuries – why risk it?
Let’s learn more on the great importance of warm up before exercise!
Importance of Warm Up
When you warm up, you increase blood circulation and heart rate while causing your muscles to be “ready for exercise” by being filled with oxygen-rich blood.
Warm up can even keep you more focused and concentrate while working out due to increased blood circulation throughout your body.
Want to feel it for yourself?
Stand up, do some warm up, walk around and continue doing what you are doing. Feel the difference? I’m sure you do! 😉
So this concept is the same for exercise, when you are in a resting state, your body and muscles are relaxed and not ready to do an exercise.
Therefore, when you suddenly do an intense exercise, you may injure yourself.
There’s no harm to spend 5-10 mins to warm up before exercising. A short 5-10 mins warm up is more than enough to get you going.
Besides, don’t misunderstood the difference between warm up and stretching, keep reading to learn more about it.
Benefits of Warm Up
- Improved blood circulation – When you are warming up, you effectively increase your blood circulation throughout your body.
- Improved flexibility – With an increased blood circulation, the muscles become more relaxed and reduce muscle stiffness leading to improved flexibility.
- Injury prevention – Keeping muscles warm and preparing it to exercise reduces the risk of injuries. It also helps loosen your joints, tendons, ligaments and alike.
- Mental and physical preparation – As your blood circulation increases, it causes you to be more focused, improved coordination, technique and skill.
- Quicker muscle contraction and relaxation – When your body temperature is elevated and increased blood circulation, it improves nerves transmission and muscle metabolism.
General Warm Up vs Specific Warm Up
Yes yes… Warm up is just warm up, oh really?
Warm up is separated into two types: general warm up and specific warm up.
Both types serve a different purpose.
General Warm Up
General warm up is basically any kind of warm up exercise/routine you do 5-10 mins prior to exercising. It drastically reduce the risk of injuries.
This is mainly to warm up your whole body and improve blood circulation by doing general movements such as:
Specific Warm Up
Specific warm up is basically the type of warm up that’s specific to the exercise/activity that you intend to do.
- You do some easy short sprints prior to sprinting.
- You do some easy lightweight squats prior to squatting heavy.
This is to specifically prepare your body for the specific exercise you do.
However, it is not necessary to do specific warm up if you just want to go for a walk or jog in a park.
Warm Up vs Stretching
Most people misunderstood that warm up and stretching is the same, no… Warm up and stretching are very different from each other.
If you are doing warm up or stretches beyond 15 mins prior to working out, you are basically working out already rather than “warming up”.
An example of warm up:
Example of dynamic stretches:
Example of static stretches:
The purpose of warm up is to get your body warmed up, increase blood circulation and prepare your muscles to do the intended activities.
The purpose of dynamic stretches is to move your body through its normal range of motion in preparation to do a workout or exercise routine.
Static stretches purpose is to improve flexibility. Therefore, you should do static stretches after your workout instead of before.
I hope this helps you understand the difference between warm up and stretching.
What Happens if You Don’t Warm Up?
Well, if you didn’t warm up before you go for a run or do body weight exercise at home, nothing much will happen.
Yes, you read that right – nothing much will happen.
It is highly advisable and recommended to warm up before an exercise to prevent injuries, but this doesn’t mean you can’t exercise without warm up.
For your information, if you start exercising with low intensity (this serves as a warm up) and gradually increase your exercise intensity, you will be fine.
In a nutshell, just do warm up where possible, just don’t risk getting injured.
Simple and Effective Warm Up Routine
Don’t worry about it, this is a simple and effective warm up routine to get you going regardless of exercise (general warm up).
Example of simple and effective warm up routine:
Do the warm up routine 15 reps each exercise. Once you are warmed up, you can do dynamic stretches.
Example of dynamic stretches before exercise:
Once you are done with the warm up and stretching routine, you can start your workout now.
Here’s a free 8-weeks training plan to help you go from couch to running 5k: