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How Long Should You Warm Up Before a Workout

adult-blur-casual-cold-374678If you have a jam-packed day and just want to get to the good part of your workout, it can be tempting to skip a warmup. Warmups are slow and can be boring—but they are vital to your performance and overall health.

Why You Should Warm Up

Whether you’ve been sitting at a desk all day or have just woken up, your muscles, tendons and ligaments are likely not ready to go all out in a workout. They may be cold and even a little stiff. 

Without a warmup, your muscles and tendons may be more susceptible to injury. They may be less flexible and unprepared to move how you need to move. They may also hurt more during your workout, especially if they are already painful.

Furthermore, a warmup gets good, oxygen-rich blood flowing to your muscles. With your blood pumping, you can have a more effective workout, experience less pain, and perform at your best. 

How Long You Should Warm Up

The length of your warmup depends on the intensity of your planned exercise. Low stress activities, such as yoga, require a short five-minute warmup. Heavy weightlifting, interval workouts, and other strenuous exercises need at least 10-15 minutes of warmup.

During your warmup, focus on getting your big muscles groups moving first. Instead of standing and stretching with static stretches, try a dynamic warmup routine.  

A dynamic warmup routine gets your heart rate slowly elevated with exercising like jumping jacks or marching in place. It also helps activate your major muscle groups with lighter versions of exercises you may be planning to do later. For instance, you may want to do 10-15 bodyweight squats before heading to the squat rack. 

A dynamic warmup also helps stretch your muscles through movement such as lunges or arm circles. Stretching while moving helps keep your heart rate rising in preparation for more intense exercise while also helping you increase your range of motion.

Remember that your warmup is a vital part of your workout routine; it’s not optional. You can change up your warmup for different workouts to keep it interesting or keep it the same to help you get in the right mindset for exercise.

At Bon Secours In Motion, our expert athletic trainers can help you design a personalized and safe workout routine, from warmup to cool-down. Contact us today to receive customized training recommendations.