Warm-Up Before Exercise: Importance, Scientific Reason, Duration And All You Need To Know

In the rush of hitting the gym and picking up the weights to start the exercises, we often forget about warm-ups in general life. Warm-up is the phase of preparing your body for your regular exercise session.

It is done by doing low-intensity exercises or training the muscles with very light weights. Even those who are obsessed with losing fat, sometimes, tend to climb on the treadmill and run at rapid speeds with no idea that how important it is to warm up at first.’

Skipping your warm-up and subjecting your body to a sudden encounter with high-intensity training can result in an abnormal rise in your heart rate and the chances of injury rises a lot as well.

The Importance of Warm-Up

Warming up your body is nothing but letting your body know about the exercise you are going to carry out in the following session. The body gets to prepare itself for the workout session and many changes take place which favors your workout.

Firstly, the body temperature rises allowing the muscles to contract and relax properly. It reduces the chances of injury and risks of overstretching. The blood flow to the muscles also increases which allows the specific muscles to perform way better than it would if you skip the warm-up phase.

Your digestive system is shut down and a process called vasodilation and vasoconstriction takes place. The main function is to shut the blood supply to your abdominal region and allowing more blood to your muscles which in turn brings more oxygen as well. Warming up helps the body carry out these processes in a natural way.

Many hormonal changes take place as well which play an important role in governing energy production systems of your body. These hormones include cortisol and epinephrine. They also allow carbohydrates and fats to get metabolized properly. So, now you see how significant a warm-up can be for the role it plays in terms of hormones.

Don’t Shock Your Body By Skipping Warm-Up

Beginners, who haven’t been told about the importance of warm-up may end up starting their exercises at high intensities which in turn increases their heart rate very quickly. This puts stress on their heart and does not allow the body to adapt to the workout session that will be carried on.

This, hence, deteriorates performance and raises the chances of injury as you are going to pick up heavy weights without the body being warmed up for it. The coordination of the body will not be proper as well between the various systems and the overall workout quality is decreased.

The warm-up prepares your nervous system as well which plays a very important role involving your brain, the neurons and the impulses that get transmitted throughout your body. Without warming up, we are kind of not letting our nervous system become aware of the stress we are about to put our body ahead.

How Long Should We Do A Warm-Up Session?

A proper warm-up session should last anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. American Council Of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends a 10-minute warm-up to prepare your body for the strenuous workout ahead.

warm-up with light weights
Warm-up with light weights

How To Warm-Up?

Finally, coming to question about how can we actually warm up. Many newbies in the gym might be even clueless about it. Starting with the basics you can do the following exercises for warming up your overall body:

  • Standing Jog
  • Twisting
  • Knee Raises
  • Slow Paced Walking
  • Cycling

When you are doing strength training, you can also exercise the specific muscles group at low intensity with very light weights just to bring the intensity from resting levels to workout level. Some very common exercises can include compound movements as well such as:

  • Push-Ups
  • Pull-Ups
  • Chin-Ups
  • Normal Squats
  • Inclined Walk

For those whose workout sessions are focused on cardio and want to start their workout on the treadmill, the warm-up phase would include walking slowly and then gradually increasing the pace after 5 to 10 minutes.

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