The importance of warming up and cooling down before and after exercise:
Firstly, what is the importance of warming up before exercise?
The warm-up prepares the body for physical activity, as well as helping to reduce the chances of injury to the muscles, which can be more susceptible to injury when not warmed up. The warm-up will depend on the sport, the level of competition, the type of exercise being performed and the age of the participants. The preparation phase should include the muscle groups that will be engaged in training. A warm-up should involve an exercise or activity that will increase blood flow to the working muscles such as the use of a cardio machine (i.e., exercise bike, treadmill, rower.) The intensity of the warm-up should begin at a low level and progress to the level of intensity needed during the activity. For most individuals, 5-10 minutes is appropriate for a warm-up. However, in cold weather, the time of the warm-up should be prolonged. An active warm-up should be followed by dynamic stretching- Dynamic stretching mimics movements and prepares the body for activity and takes the muscles through their full range of motion. Examples of dynamic stretching include: walking knee hugs to stretch the hips and glutes, walking leg pulls to stretch the quads.
In summary the warm-up:
− Prepares the body and mind for the activity/exercise
− Increases core body temperature
− Increases heart rate
− Increases breathing rate
− Prepares muscles for the activity
− Increases flexibility and range of motion (ROM)
− Reduces your chance of injury
− Reduces muscle soreness
− Prepares tendons and ligaments for work
What is the importance of a cool-down after exercise?
Firstly, cooling down after a workout is just as important as warming up.
A cool-down after vigorous activity (being cardio or weightlifting) helps return your heart and breathing rate to normal resting levels and also provides an opportunity for your body to flush away waste products from the muscles (such as lactic acid- causes muscle fatigue and muscle soreness) back into the circulatory system. It is important to stretch after exercise too because your muscles and joints are still warm. Stretching can help reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which can lead to muscles cramping and stiffening. DOMS- is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles post-exercise. In summary, the cool-down should consist of the following:
− ± 5 minutes of active recovery at light intensity
− Perform static stretching (stretch held in a stationary position/ hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds)
− Make sure you breathe while stretching, exhale as you stretch, inhale while holding the stretch
For more information on the importance of warming-up and cooling-down speak to one of the Personal Trainers in the studio.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.