If you want to do any job well you can’t afford to cut corners. When it comes to your workout this means that you absolutely shouldn’t skip the warm up and cool down. No matter how long you’ve got to exercise, or what you’re planning on doing as part of your regime, you mustn’t be tempted to avoid these vital sections at the start and end of your routine.
We all know we should do this deep down, but too many of us choose to ignore this, preferring to think we can get away with it.
Here’s why you should stop yourself the moment you even start to feel that way again in the future:
The warm-up sets the tone for your performance: Sorry to break it to you but you are not a Ferrari. Your body can’t go from 0 to 60mph in the mere blink of an eye. It needs to go through the gears – and will only reach top speed once it’s up and running. The warm up is vital for preparing you to reach your peak – you’d be stupid to try to skip this step as you’re placing a cap on the extent of your achievements.
You need your blood to be pumping, your temperature to steadily rise and for your muscles and limbs to be fully ready to push your performance to the limit, regardless of what your workout is. As the old saying goes: ‘More haste less speed’. To stretch the car analogy further, you wouldn’t slam the breaks on and jump out from your high speed sports car when you’ve reached your destination either. Your body needs to come to a slow and gradual stop before it reaches its resting state – failure to do this could cause you to be dizzy, feel sick or be sore. Calmly work your way back down the gears before you come to a stop.
You don’t want to get injured. By brushing past the warm-up to go straight into your workout you’re putting yourself in real danger of picking up an injury. Loosen those muscles and joints and get the heart rate going and you’ll be in a much better position to push yourself without reaching breaking point. Let’s face it, if you’re injured then there’s going to be no workout full stop, let alone a warm up or cool down. Even if you avoid injury, soreness and aching post-workout won’t exactly help you go about the rest of your day or encourage you to come back for more.
So, there you go. If you want a flat, sluggish performance and are prepared to risk picking up an injury then go ahead and ignore the warm up or cool down. It doesn’t take long and should only involve some basic stretches and a bit of light jogging (in the warm up).
It’s more than worth the 10-20 minutes you need to dedicate to it – and actually you’ll be starting to burn calories during a warm-up anyway so it’s hardly wasted workout time.
The risks and rewards are too great to skip them. Be smart: warm up and cool down properly.