Greetings from Dallas! I’m currently on a trip for business and had quite the day traveling, so I’m taking some time to quiet my mind and write a quick little post for you all.
I am loving reading more and more about fitness through my NASM studies for my personal training certification. Every chapter is so informative and I keep catching myself thinking about what I’ve learned when I go through my day. One of the greatest things that has stuck with me is the process of warming up and why it’s so important.
I’m the first to admit, I never ever warm-up. I think it’s a huge waste of time and I just want to get going and get moving as soon as possible. But, the more I’m reading, the more I’m actually incorporating warm-ups into my gym sessions.
Warming-up is crucial. It allows you to safely raise your heart rate and get your blood flowing, it increases blood flow to your muscles and gets the synovial fluid pumping in your joints (think of it like oiling a stiff hinge). By doing a few warm-up exercises, you are helping your body to keep the muscles warm which is crucial in preventing acute injuries.
Another added benefit of warming up? Your focus should be on point. You’re in it to win it and you’re ready to go. Pumping yourself up for a workout is one of the best things you can do to see success. By getting in the right mindset, you are able to push yourself just a little bit further. Don’t believe me? Try it next time. There is a reason why athletes get pumped up before major games and matches. Psychology and exercise can really go hand in hand. Next time you’re really struggling with that last leg of a run or that last rep in a set, fake a smile. Faking a smile releases the same chemicals in the body as having a real one. The workout will be more enjoyable if you just fake it til you make it…to the end.
So, what can you do to effectively warm-up? Try some self-myofascial release (foam rolling) and static stretching. Static stretching is just stretching without moving ie. touching your toes, holding your arm across your chest etc. Both of these types of stretching help the body to get warm and help the muscles relax. If you’re going to do a long bout of cardio, I recommend walking for a couple minutes or doing a light jog. For example, my workout today consisted of 6×800 sprints, so I started the workout with a light mile jog just to let my body wake-up and know that it was time to get going. And you know what? It was one of the best workouts I’ve had in awhile because my muscles felt warm and ready to go. Bonus points: no injury. Coming from a girl who just completed her first workout year injury free, this is huge. I think I just may be on to something here!
- Do you warm-up before working out?
- If so, what’s your favorite way to warm-up?