In any instructor-lead workout routine, whether it’s Pilates, yoga or barre class
, students are guided through 5-10 minutes of warm up exercises.
Why heating up muscles is important for your body
When we warm up the body before a workout, we are increasing the internal body heat and preparing it for the “main event”. With an increase in muscle temperature comes more blood flow. More blood flow to the muscles means more oxygen being circulated to move them. This leads to better performance
during the actual workout. If healthy food
is like the fuel, warming up is like the oil to the body. Not only will you be able to move faster, harder, and stronger after warming up, but your risk of injury is reduced.
Sometimes we don’t have time to get to our favorite group fitness class so we opt for an at home yoga sequence or decide to go for a run
instead. Kudos on not skipping your workout, just be sure you aren’t skimping on the warm up. Give yourself at least 5 minutes of warm up time to prepare your body and mind for a great workout.
3 fast ways to warm up
- Cover up. Wear leg warmers and socks before and during the warm up to jump-start the temperature-induced blood flow. Providing outer warmth will turn up the internal heat more efficiently and activate the muscles.
- Yoga squat is a great way to wake up the hip flexors and engage the quadriceps. Stand with your feet hip width apart and feet slightly turned out. Bend your knees and squat down while keeping knees in line with feet (not in front of). Remember to breathe. Place your hands on your knees and gently twist your torso gently to one side and then the other. Do this several times.
- Dynamic stretches, as opposed to static or holding stretches, are great to do before a workout because they heat up your body faster and create a surge of energy for what lies ahead. Try jumping jacks, leg swings, arm swings or walking lunges.
Sometimes the most important aspect of what we do is also the simplest. Don't forget to warm up your muscles. Your body will thank you.