Stockholm, SE

A good warming-up only for old people?

11-11-2015, by Mieke

I used to think warming-up was just for old people. I thought the only purpose was to warm-up your muscles and prevent injuries. I didn't have injuries without my warming-up, so I stubbornly left this time consuming activity to the elderly.

It was until I was forced to further examine the purposes of a proper warming-up during the fitness studies I'm doing, that made me realize the importance of it all. Warming-up is not only to warm your muscles and preventing yourself from injuries, it also enables you to keep working-out longer and, with that, improve the joy during your work-out and your overall result. I will try to explain why and I hope to convince some of y'all stubborn girls :)

I realize this is a bit of a technical story, but I will try to keep it simple..

  • Working out causes your heart rate to go up, that's a good thing!
  • When you're working out intensively, you will find yourself short of breath. When this happens, your body will produce lactic acid, which causes the muscles to get tired.
  • When you start your intensive work-out right away, your heart rate is still low and you will be short of breath sooner than when you first perform a warming-up. Your body will immediately produce a lot of lactic acid and will not be able to get rid of it anymore. This will cause your body to get tired earlier than needed.

This is what happens when you do a proper warming-up

Your body needs to get used to the activity and, no matter the intensity, you will start to produce lactic acid. However, when you're slowly building up the warming-up, you won't get short of breath and the body will be able to drain off the lactic acid. Furthermore, once the warming-up is done and you have slowly raised your heart rate, you will be able to pursue the activity longer before running short of breath, you will be able to transport more oxygen to the muscles during the rest of the work-out and the lactic acid does not accumulate as fast as when you start intensively right away. Besides warming-up your muscles and preventing injuries, your work-out will last longer and your muscles will not get tired as fast.

How to warm-up?

  • A warming-up doesn't have to be long. Only 5 minutes is A-OK.
  • Make sure to not get short of breath during your warming-up. A great way to do this is the talk-test. When you're still able to have a normal conversation without grasping for breath, you will know you're working a great warming-up.
  • Build up the pace slowly, so your heart rate will steadily increase.
  • Don't make sudden movements, to prevent injuries; not only old people need to warm-up their muscles ;-)
  • Focus your warming-up on the area(s) you will be targeting during your training. For example: when you are planning to train your legs, stepping on a fitness bike is more effective than the treadmill.

This was some theoretical stuff, but knowing this makes me start every work-out with 5 minutes of low intensity cardio, for instance on the treadmill. A great warming-up makes for an even better work-out, so I hope I've convinced you girls :)


Nice to meet you, my name is Mieke Geevers; Givers.

It’s my dream to make it easy for women worldwide to feel good about themselves. Fast reads and videos about sports, food, beauty and fashion. Feel free to browse through my website, comment, like or share, you're welcome!