Is warming up a waste of time? Absolutely not!

December 12 2014

It’s easy to become overly exuberant when it comes to your daily workout routine. The ‘go hard or go home’ mantra pushes us to do exactly that, working to the extreme and pushing our abilities, but at what price on our bodies?

You’ll have heard our instructors preaching about the benefits of a warm up and cool down session, but what is the point of this? Is it really worth staying those extra 5 minutes to ensure you’ve cooled down sufficiently? In short, yes! But here’s why we’re so adamant.

Warming up

Usually some light cardio to loosen the joints and get the heart pumping, alongside a few important stretches, will do the trick. A workout without a warm up is a risky endeavour indeed.

If you were to go straight into your normal routine, you certainly wouldn’t be working at your best. To reach higher levels of performance, we must gradually up our game, and that means starting from the very beginning with a light jog. Going in all at once could cause shock to your muscles and result in an injury, whereas a warm up prepares them from an impending pounding.

Any static sports, such as cricket, call for regular warm ups throughout to keep the muscles ready. You’ll often see this in games with substitutes, as they’ll be required to jog and stretch in the background in case they need to go at a moment’s notice. Those bib-wearing footballers aren’t just jogging up and down the side of the pitch for your entertainment, you know.

Cooling down

Often people understand the importance of a warm up, but regrettably forget about their cool down. A cool down not only helps to gradually reduce the speed of our heart rate, but also helps us to psychologically wind down. If you ever struggle to regulate your sleeping pattern after attending the gym, it could be because you haven’t adequately cooled down and shut off.

A perfect opportunity to stretch out the muscles and take extra care to examine our body to ensure we have not caused ourselves any injuries; cool down sessions are a vital part of any training session. From basic stretches to relaxing yoga, the aim is to gradually slow you back down to your regular pace.

Cool down sessions help our bodies to recover so that we can put in the same great output next time we’re in the gym. Also, you don’t want to be moaning to all of your workmates that you can barely move the next day because all of your muscles are stiff.

Your body needs rest

Although it may seem insane to some of us, there are people who just cannot get enough of the gym and don’t particularly want to give their bodies a rest. We often see it particularly in those that want to bulk up fast, or those that join various classes and attend multiple sessions per day. We must stress that for you to get the most out of any exercise, you have to let the body recover. If you’re working out on strained muscles, they’re going to take more time to recover and less time actually building and toning, rendering your workout absolutely useless. Eventually you’ll end up causing serious harm that could see you having to avoid exercise all together.

At this time of year, the debate surrounding cool down time is particularly poignant, what with the hectic December football fixture schedule putting immense strain on players. Whilst some of us may guffaw at the suggestion that £300,000-a-week footballers cannot play more than one game in a week, the pressure these athletes are under to perform at their peak over such a short amount of time can put their body through an immense deal of stress.

Much like a serious injury would impact the career of these sporting heros, a torn muscle or sprain would greatly interrupt your ability to complete the most basic everyday tasks, let alone your ability to go to work.

Whilst you may not have taken this into consideration previously, we hope that you take your cool down and warm up sessions much more seriously in the future. God forbid you cause yourself an injury for the sake of a few minutes either side of your workout.

When you sign up for a DW Fitness Clubs membership, our expert trainers will tell you all you need to know about exercising safely and getting the most from your workouts.