Benefits of Warming Up

Do you skip the benefits of warming up and cooling down when exercising?  Do you think there just isn’t enough time for a warm up and cool down?

Perhaps you just think these steps are not that important.

Many people feel they are too crunched for time or just do not understand the importance of a warming up and cooling down. 

Skipping these crucial steps in your routine is like having books on a shelf with no book ends.  

The book ends are the stability and support for the books just like your warm up routine and cool down period are the "book ends" to your workout.

Warm ups and cool downs provide your body the stability and support your body needs before and after exercise.  

Although the benefits of warming up and cooling down are different, there is real benefit to both steps.

Benefits Of Warming Up

The main purpose and benefit of warm up exercises is to slowly increase your heart rate. 

This increase in heart rate helps to raise your body temperature and to increase the blood flow to your muscles. 

This increase in blood flow properly oxygenates your muscles and prepares them for the upcoming more strenuous aerobic exercise. 

With your body properly warmed up, you can easily and safely perform the needed stretching exercises to ensure proper flexibility and range of motion for your exercise routine.

Warming up properly and then stretching readies your muscles for the aerobic exercise.  This helps minimize potential muscle tears and injury. 

With a proper warm up exercise and stretching routine the elasticity and flexibility of the tendons and ligaments are increased. 

Your joints are lubricated with synovial fluid which is released during your warm up routine.

Warm Up Exercise Length

women stretchingThe time you need to properly warm up should be about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your physical needs. 

If your body is already somewhat warmed up from some active tasks, then you may only need 5 minutes to properly warm up your body and oxygenate your muscles. 

However, if you have been sedentary for awhile you may want to take 10 minutes to properly warm up.

What Muscles to Target

To get the most benefit of warming up be sure to warm up your major muscles like the hips, thighs, glutes, calves, chest and shoulders. 

You can target all of these muscles by marching in place and swinging your arms back and forth. 

To make your warm up exercise a bit more varied add some grapevines or jump roping. You don’t have to use a rope, just do the motion.

You can also add some larger arm movements like circles while marching or jogging in place.

Additional Warm Up and Stretching

If you are trying to get all the benefits of warming up to participate in a sport, then your warm up routine needs to take your specific sport into account. 

In addition to a typical warm up, you want to be sure to warm up and target the specific muscles you will be using while playing the sport.

To prepare the exact muscles you will be using during the sport perform the motion or activity of the sport. 

For instance, if playing quarter back in a football game is what you are warming up for, then practice or mimic throwing the football several times to warm up those particular muscles.

For your next exercise routine, be sure to get all the benefits of warming up and cooling down by make time for these two critical steps of your workout.

In addition to the many benefits of warming up, see why you also need to cool down after exercise.

Additional Articles

Eating Before Exercise
Eating before exercise is just as important as warming up. Your body needs the right kind of fuel to stay energized for your workout. Check out this article to find out what and when you should eat before your workout.

Exercise Tips
If you are not sure where to start for your exercise routines, check out these tips. When first starting out with workouts you want to be sure to don't over do it. You also want to make sure you have the right clothing and environment to make it a successful workout.

Exercise Calorie Calculator
Use this free online tool to find out how many calories you burned with your workout. Just select the type of exercise, your intensity level and duration to calculate the number of calories burned.