Hi there reader! Today I will be talking about the importance of warm up and cool down. Even though we’re all aware of the benefits, some people jump straight into their workout without warming up. Their excuse is either “I don’t have time for this.” or “It is so boring.” Same goes for the cool down.
Let’s face it, if you made time to do a workout then you can make extra 5 minutes to do your warm up and cool down. Both should always be done and let me explain why.
Why Is Warm Up So Important?
Warm up is an important and crucial part of your workout routine to help prevent injuries and improve performance. As you’re warming up your body you’re increasing the blood flow to the muscles and decreasing muscular stiffness.
Increased blood flow will allow your joints a bigger range of motion during your workout. Furthermore, it will result in an increased oxygen and nutrient delivery to the muscles. It’s always great to warm up your whole body but focus more on the muscles you’ll be working that day.
For instance, do more upper body exercises when you’re working out your chest or back. On the other hand, perform bodyweight lunges and squats when you’re training legs. Warm up is even more important if you have been sitting for a longer period of time prior to exercising. If you don’t have any ideas for a warm up here’s a few.
Warm Up Ideas
Personally, I always begin the warm up by rotating my joints. Afterwards I do the following exercises for 30 seconds:
- Run in place
- High knees
- Butt kickers
- Leg swings
- Arm swings
- Plank walkout
- Jog in place
Like I mentioned earlier I’ll focus more on the certain body part I’m training that day but this is my whole body routine that I like to do before any workout.
If you find this warm up boring, you can always take it outside and do a 5 – 10 minute jog or jump rope. Dancing is another great way to warm up your muscles. Find what works best for you but make sure that the warm up becomes a part of your routine!
Don’t Forget The Cool Down
Cool down is the opposite of warm up but equally important and it should never be skipped! During cool down you want to bring down your heart rate to its resting rate. Furthermore, you want to decrease your breathing rate and lower body and muscles temperature.
Performing a cool down will strengthen and lengthen your muscles as well as increase your recovery rate. With cool down you can also prevent muscle soreness and dissipate lactic acid away from muscles.
Skipping cool down can cause blood pooling which can lead to dizziness and fainting. During exercise your muscles help force the blood through the vessels to the heart by contracting with more force. This causes the blood to resist gravity. By suddenly stopping exercising your muscles stop contracting against blood vessels. Which means the blood can’t resist gravity now and can pool in your lower extremities. This can cause dizziness or fainting.
Cool Down Ideas
Great way to cool down is to lightly jog in place for a minute whilst taking in deep breaths. After this do static stretches that last between 15 – 30 seconds each. Cool down in general should last at least 5 minutes! If you’re lucky enough to have a foam roller use it after your stretching session. It will further help with your recovery and flexibility.
If you usually don’t warm up and cool down do it next time you work out and let me know if you notice a difference. Make a fun challenge to do it after every workout for 28 days. It will eventually become your habit.
Note that you can also do proper stretching sessions that last 30 – 40 minutes on rest days and reap more benefits.
As always, happy exercising, stay safe and I’ll write to you soon,