How to Warm Up Properly and Avoid Injury

Warming up will not only help improve your performance during your workout, but it will prevent injuries as well. Although warming up sometimes feels like a waste of time, it’s important that you always do it. A lot of people choose to skip this part and instantly jump right into their workout when they’re in a hurry. However, you should know that exercising is healthy only if you do it in a healthy way. In order to improve your athletic performance and avoid injury, you will have to learn how to warm up properly.

The first thing that you should learn is exactly what types of exercises should be included in a warm up. A lot of people don’t know how to warm up correctly, and should improve this process. In most cases, your warm up should consist of stretching and cardiovascular exercises. By stretching, you will warms your muscles and prepare them for the movements that are part of the activity that follows.

On the other hand, cardiovascular exercises will help bring your heart rate up, increase your body temperature, and increase circulation, which will ultimately improve your performance. During the warm up process, it’s also a good idea to perform some explosive strength exercises, like jumps or sprint drills. However, note that you should only they should be performed after stretching and cardiovascular exercises. Strength drills are known for helping prevent injuries.

The main reason why warm ups are so important is that they prepare your body for exercises by gradually increasing both your circulation and heart rate. Because of this, your joints will become loosened and blood will flow to your muscles more efficiently. Stretching will also prepare your muscles for upcoming activities as well as reduce the risk of injuries. Some of the best stretching exercises include knees to chest stretches, side lunges, forward lunges, and thigh stretches. It’s also worth mentioning that simple exercises like walking or running in place will also stretch your muscles. The warm up process also represents a great way for a person to mentally prepare themselves for the upcoming workout.

Some people do passive stretches before exercising, which will actually make you less prepared for the upcoming workout. Passive stretching refers to exercises that involve using an outside force other than your own muscle to move a limb or joint beyond its active range of motion. Keep in mind that passive stretches will only make the muscles you stretch weaker for the next few hours. Instead of helping you avoid injury, this type of “warm up routine” will actually increase the risk of you getting injured.

Instead of doing passive stretches, you should only perform a dynamic warm up routine that involves actively and progressively introducing exercises that will engage all the muscles that you will use in the upcoming workout. Dynamic stretches safely increase your muscle activation and mobility, while passive stretching basically forces flexibility onto a joint or muscle.

No matter what type of exercises you include in your warm up process, make sure that it lasts at least 20 minutes. However, keep in mind that the process shouldn’t last more than 30 minutes, since this is more than enough time for your body to get prepared for the upcoming workout.

Just like it’s important to warm up before a workout, it’s also essential that you cool down after. The reason why you should cool down after exercising is because it will help your body to recover. During this process, you should work on reducing your body temperature, stretching out your muscles, and allowing your heart rate to get back to normal. Unlike the warm up process, the cool down routine should last only about five minutes.