Warming up and cooling down doesn’t necessarily take a huge amount of time but a large number of people, unfortunately, skip it as a time saver with workouts. However, the benefit of doing both warm up and cool down is worth the small amount of time they add to your overall workout.
Incorporating a warm-up and cool down into your workout is a great way to decrease the risk of injury, and improve workout performance. There are reasons for both as we will discuss.
Why The Warm Up Is Important
- Taking the time to properly warm up, will pump nutrient-rich, oxygenated blood to your muscles as it slowly speeds up your heart rate and breathing. A proper warm-up should last five to 10 minutes, should work all of the major muscle groups, and will vary depending on the what activity you are going to do. It prepares the body for further exercise at an increased intensity.
- This increase in blood flow also properly oxygenates your muscles, increases body temperature and sparks mental awareness, which are all needed for the upcoming more strenuous exercise.
- Once your body is properly warmed up, you can easily and safely perform your workout and to ensure proper flexibility and range of motion for your exercise routine. This reduces muscle strain as well as the likelihood of injury during your workout.
- It is recommended that as we age, warm-ups should get longer and slightly more gradual. This also holds true if preparing for an exercise that is particularly vigorous, or if coming back from an injury.
Why The Cool Down Is Important
- The cooldown period of an exercise session is equally as important as the warm-up. At the conclusion of your workout, it’s ideal to spend 10 minutes cooling down through a sequence of slow movements. This will help prevent muscle cramps while gradually slowing your breathing and heart rate.
- An effective cool-down will incorporate stretching exercises to relax and lengthen muscles as well as improve your range of motion. To get the most out of these exercises, hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds as it will improve your flexibility.
- A cool down will also decrease joint or muscle soreness and promote relaxation. It is advised to avoid abrupt stops after vigorous exercise as it can make you feel light-headed and dizzy by ensuring that the brain continues to receive a sufficient supply of blood and oxygen as opposed to blood pooling in the extremities.
- As with the warm-up, the best way that cool down often depends on the type of exercise that you did during your workout. Use the first few minutes by walking, or even jogging if you have been running. Once your heart rate has stabilized and is back to a state of rest, you can then follow this with some stretching.
A warmup up is an essential component of any workout, regardless of how vigorous the workout. Within a few minutes, you can increase blood flow, prepare your muscles, send oxygen to the working muscles, improve range of motion, not to mention preparing your mind for the workout ahead.
Stretching the particular muscle groups you used in your workout will help to return them to their normal length, reduce the delayed onset of muscular soreness, as well as aid recovery and help your body in its repair process. Including deep breathing in your cool down help to oxygenate your system.
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