When you’re first beginning an intense workout regimen, it can be difficult to know where to start. You might be full of questions. What kind of exercise is best for my body? What exercises will help me meet my weight loss goals? With a little research on the internet, you can definitely find the answers to these questions and gain some guidance from experts, but one thing many articles forget to include are recommendations for warm-up exercises.
(Check out these articles to get started on creating your perfect fitness routine: weight and strength training, beginner’s guide to a perfect fitness routine, 4 best pieces of cardio equipment for quick weight loss, and a simple guide to staying fit and reducing stress.)
How can warming up help you lose weight?
Warming up is crucial for two main reasons:
- It can help you enhance your performance during your workout.
- It can also aid in preventing injuries when working out.
When you’re first starting to workout, your body is still getting used to the specific exercises you are performing. You wouldn’t start running a marathon without any warm-up or training, and you shouldn’t start your basic workout routine without warming up either.
Working out is a crucial element of losing weight and beginning a healthier lifestyle. If you’re not used to working out every day, warming up is especially important to ease your body into your new regimen. Just like you need to work in a new pair of shoes, your body needs to be eased into intense exercises.
Warming up loosens your muscles at a slower pace than just jumping right into an intense workout. While scientific studies are hard to administer that display a connection between warming up and injury prevention (because no athlete wants to risk injury), many scientific studies have suggested that athletes were less likely to get injured when practicing a regular warm up routine.
Good for Your Body, Great for Your Mind
Warming up is also crucial for a third reason: it mentally prepares you for an intense workout. Just like you might study or review before a difficult exam, it’s important to prepare your body and mind before a difficult workout. Warming up helps you ease your mind and get used to the intensity mentally before embarking on a run or a physical challenge.
Right now, you’re probably building your perfect workout routine. You should also be building your perfect warm-up routine. Here are some ideas to get you started!
The 4 Keys to a Perfect Warm-up
Your warm-up can include many parts: stretches, lunges, short sprints, etc. It doesn’t need to always be the same, and it should prepare you specifically for the workout you will be doing that day. The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends you include these four things for an ideal warm-up:
- Loosen up: Get your body moving and loosen up in whatever way feels right for your body. This might mean using a foam roller or doing some light stretches to warm your body up.
- Get your heart pumping: Do a quick jog or jump on a stationary bike to get your heart rate up a little bit. This will begin to prepare you for the challenge of your workout. Don’t push yourself too hard, but do begin to sweat a little bit.
- Do some dynamic stretches: You might be used to stretching as maintaining a position for a certain period of time. These types of stretches are actually not ideal for a warming up. You should be practicing dynamic stretches which might include moving your arms in big circles or kicking your legs forward. The key is to keep your body moving, not to be static.
- Practice: Now is the time to think about the workout you will be doing. How can you best prepare for its intensity? If you’re going on a long run, it’s best to go on a quick jog to fully prepare yourself. Push yourself a little harder than you did at the beginning of your warm-up. In essence, practice your planned workout, but for a shorter and less intense period of time.
The Full Body Warm-Up
Want to get your full body engaged for your workout? Try this workout from Greatist.
High Knees – 30 seconds
Air Squats – 10
Push-ups – 10
Lunges – 10
Burpees – 10
The Dynamic Warm-Up
You can also check out this other warm-up routine here.
- 2-3 minutes of jump rope
- 50 jumping jacks
- 20 squats
- 5 lunges (each leg)
- 10 hip extensions
- 5 hip rotations each leg (like you’re stepping over a fence)
- 10 forward leg swings (each leg)
- 10 side leg swings (each leg)
- 10-20 push-ups
- 10 spiderman steps
Whether you use one of the warm-ups here or create your own, remember that it’s important to warm-up even if you’re on a time crunch, so make sure you’re creating a warm-up that’s best for you and your body.