6 Reasons to Make Time for Warming Up

By Larry Payne, Georg Feuerstein, Sherri Baptiste, Doug Swenson, Stephan Bodian, LaReine Chabut, Therese Iknoian

Part of Yoga All-in-One Dummies Cheat Sheet

Warming up before you work out makes sense because it prepares your body for the upcoming activity. Here’s what happens to your body when you warm up:

  • You get your blood pumping. Blood flow through your muscles increases, which enhances the delivery of oxygen from your blood, and the speed of your nerve impulses increases. Both of these factors make your muscles work better.

  • You get your heart pumping. Your heart rate increases, which primes your cardiovascular system to handle the increased load from your workout.

  • You increase your body temperature. Your body and tissue temperature gently increase, which helps prevent injury by slowly increasing your body’s core temperature. That increase allows your blood pressure to stay regulated.

  • You loosen up your muscles. Muscular tension decreases, and your connective tissue has an enhanced ability to lengthen, which in turn enhances your performance and decreases the likelihood of injury.

  • You get into the right frame of mind. You slowly and gently ease into the right frame of mind for the exertion that comes with a good workout. This mindset prevents you from getting tired out or overdoing it, which can happen if you start out exercising too vigorously.

  • You reduce the risk of injury and improve your performance. When your body is primed and ready for the activity, you perform at a higher level and are less likely to hurt yourself.

If you don’t warm up, you increase the likelihood of the following:

  • Pulling a muscle because you’re stretching out “cold” and no blood or oxygen is circulating and flowing to the area

  • Becoming short of breath or dizzy because your heart rate increases too quickly

  • Injuring a joint because you launch into quick movements without first loosening up the surrounding tissue.