We’re all guilty of it. We only have limited time in the day to get to the gym or hit the running trails for our workout. If you only have any hour to exercise, it’s very tempting to skip the warm up, especially if you’re running late or need to cut your workout short. But don’t! Your warm up is important. Let’s look at why you should never skip your warm up.
Your warm up helps prevention injuries. Unfortunately, there are no real human studies that support this claim as no one in their right mind would want to intentionally tear a muscle, all in the name of science. But, several animal studies have supported the idea that you are less likely to injure yourself if you have spent time warming up.
Warming up raises your heart rate at a slow pace, which reduces the amount of stress on your heart. The increased blood flow to your muscles also increases the flexibility in your muscles and connective tissue, which greatly reduces the chance of a strain, a sprain or another type of injury.
Whether you are a rugby player or just a regular Joe trying to lift weights, enhanced performance is always a good thing. Who doesn’t want to win the game or set a personal best on their deadlift? A warm up at a low intensity opens up all your capillaries and increases blood flow to your muscles by over 70%. Additionally, as you move around, your muscle temperature increases, which encourages your red blood cells to release more oxygen in your body.
We often don’t think about the mental side of sports and exercise, but exercise has a profound effect on our mental status. How many times have you gone to the gym in a bad mood and left feeling happy?
While exercising generally makes us happier, we also need to mentally prepare ourselves for sport games and workouts. Warm-ups help us prepare mentally by getting our heads in the game and preparing us to handle the discomfort of running fast or lifting heavy weights.
So next time you’re short on time at the gym, don’t skip your warm up. It’s important for you both physically and mentally.