Workout Tips: Warming Up is the Most Important Part of Exercise

It can be hard enough squeeze a workout into your busy schedule, so do you really
need to spend some of that valuable exercise time warming up?

Workout Warmup

Busy people are notorious for skipping the warmup, but that’s a bad idea. In fact, the
warmup is the one part of your workout that you should never neglect — it’s the easiest
way to get hurt.

A Warmup Reduces the Chance of Sports Injury

It’s common to try to work out first thing in the morning, before work or school. Or you
might fit your workout in after a day spent sitting behind a desk.

Regardless, your muscles and joints are sometimes not truly ready to jump right into a
workout.

When muscles and joints are cold, they’re a bit like tight rubber bands. Without a
warmup, they could easily be pulled or even snap, leaving you with a sports injury
instead of a good workout.

A warmup prepares your body for the intensity of your workout, increasing the blood
flow to the muscles, which improves their elasticity and prepares them for the workload
to come. The joints become lubricated, allowing for easier movement.

With a thorough warmup, the risk of a soft tissue sports injury is significantly decreased.

A Warmup Prepares the Body for Optimal Workout Results

Warming up can help prevent you from suffering a sports injury, but that’s not the only
reason you shouldn’t skip it.

A warmup can also boost your performance, giving you the biggest bang for your
workout buck. When you are properly warmed up, your cardiovascular system is revved
and ready to produce. The improved blood circulation increases your flexibility as well.

Once your body has warmed up, it will be ready to perform exercises in the proper form,
which maximizes your results as well as minimizes your risk of a sports injury.

Tips for a Proper Warmup

Warm up immediately before every workout session, for best results.

Plan to spend about five to 10 minutes warming up, doing movements that raise your heart rate and gently work the large muscle groups. At the end, if you prefer, you can
add in some exercises that are more specific to your sport or activity.

How intense should a warmup be? It’s OK if your warmup leaves you a little sweaty; you
should still have plenty of energy for a full workout afterward.

Not sure how to warm up? Try a lower intensity version of your workout activity.

For example, if you are a runner, you could hop on the treadmill for a few minutes of
brisk walking. Or you could do a series of light total body exercises, such as jumping
jacks, situps and pushups. And of course, don’t forget to add in a few gentle stretches
as a part of your pre-workout routine.

IASIS Centers of Orthopedic & Sports Medicine specializes in the prevention and
treatment of sports injuries. Contact us today for more information, and to learn how to
avoid orthopedic injuries during your workout.

Mark Peterson, DO
Sports Medicine Physician at Endurance Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Dr. Peterson is board-certified in Family Medicine, as well as in non-surgical Sports Medicine. He has served as a team physician for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and for Heritage High School in Arkansas. He is also fluent in Spanish.