Before beginning any type of workout, you should always plan for a good warm-up to help prepare your body for physical activity. It may not seem like an essential part of your workout routine, but warming up can actually help prevent illness and even injury once things get really physical. Here are some great ways to warm up — and reasons why it’s so important.
- It minimizes heart stress. Your heart is forced to pump blood much more quickly while exercising, and it can be stressful if you suddenly start exercising very intensely. Warm-ups help to build your heart rate slowly and gently.
- It protects your muscles. Warming up supplies extra oxygen to the muscles by dilating your blood vessels, which makes you limber and ready for exercise.
- Match your warm-up to your exercise. A shorter workout only requires a warm-up of about a few minutes, but if you plan on exercising for an hour or longer, be sure to plan for a longer, more thorough warm-up.
- Do the same activity at a slower pace. Whether you’re jogging, biking, or doing an aerobics routine, a good way to warm up is by performing that same activity at a slower, more moderate pace.