Some people overlook warming up and cooling down before and after exercise, purely because they can’t be bothered – WRONG.
Warming up and cooling down is the most efficient way of ensuring we do not injure ourselves or cause any risks to our bodies during and after our workouts.
Warming up – Why?
– Prepare the body and mind before intensive exercise.
– Increase the body’s temperature and allow more blood flow to make the muscles supple and pliable.
– Prepare the muscles, tendons and joints for more strenuous activity.
A warm up’s intensity should cause perspiration but NOT to cause fatigue as it is he first stage of your workout, you don’t want to tire yourself before you’ve started!
An ideal time for a warm up should be no less than 5 minutes and no longer than 10 minutes.
There are many ways you can warm up, some examples are:
– Walking or jogging using a treadmill.
– Dynamic stretches (means your body is continuously moving even while stretching which maintains high blood temperature and also improves the range of movements around your joints).
Cooling down – Why?
– Prevents blood pooling (the return of blood back to the heart rather than being trapped in veins/vessels in the lower limbs).
– Gradually lowering the heart rate back down.
– Avoids fainting or dizziness by ensuring that the brain continues to revive a sufficient supply of blood and oxygen (links to blood pooling)
– Reducing lactic acid levels to ensure you don’t get horrendous cramps.
Once you have completed your main workout, spend 5 minutes walking, cycling or jogging if you have been running to allow you to catch your breath and control your breathing.
Lastly, once your heart rate has returned back to state of rest you can follow your cool down with some stretching to prevent soreness, aid recovery and assist repair.
Don’t be a gym newbie, be wise and warm up as well as clever and cool down! Your body and mind will thank you.