When you are trying to fit working out into a busy lifestyle, it can be easy to think warm-ups are a bit of a waste of time. After all, it can take a reasonable amount of time to warm up all of your muscles and do a general cardio warm-up, and all of this is time when you aren’t working out at the level you came to do. It can also be easy to think that just replacing a proper warm-up with something less effective (for instance, the walk from your car to the gym) is a good compromise. However, warming up is extremely important, and chances are even if you don’t feel much difference when you skip it, you are risking injury and also not giving yourself a chance to perform at your best.
Here are three reasons why you should never talk yourself into skipping a thorough warm-up again:
- Preventing Injury
The most important reason of all of them is that if you don’t have your muscles and cardiovascular system properly warmed up when you start doing any kind of more intense activity, you are risking injury – and also straining your heart. Warming up your muscles and joints makes sure the fibers are ready for the work you’re about to make them do with oxygen and nutrients becoming better available to them.
Your joints become better lubricated and more flexible, and your muscle tissue gets warmer, becoming more pliable and elastic, and less easy to injure. If you’re doing cardio, a warm-up lets your heart reach the pace you need to do more intense work at a more gradual rate, which is a lot less stressful for your body. If you skip warm-ups, you can end up risking strains, tears, sprains, and other injuries unnecessarily, which is why all good orthopedics specialists like Yale Medicine, who provide help with rehabilitation for a wide range of orthopedic issues and sports injuries, really stress the importance of making sure your body is prepared for every workout.
- Mental Preparation
Whether you’re just going to do your usual workout by yourself or you’re competing in a sporting event, every workout requires a certain amount of mental preparation to keep you focused and motivated. While a warm-up may feel a bit boring compared with actually doing your favorite sport or working toward your strength goals, it is a perfect chance to focus your mind on what you want to achieve in this session, and on your body and form. If you’re really not in the mood to exercise, a warm-up is also a good way to settle into the session and feel more ready to exercise.
- Better Performance
Even if you aren’t doing anything remotely competitive or tracking things like your speed or the weight you can lift, it is still always motivating to see improvements in what you can do as you progress towards your fitness goals. Going into any activity cold will not allow you to work at your best because you’re forcing your body to warm up at the same time as doing your main exercise. You’ll feel stiffer, less flexible, weaker, and generally like everything is harder work, which can really knock your enthusiasm.
These are just three of the reasons why you should never skip a warm-up again. Be sure to remember them next time you’re pressed for time and need to work out!