Warm Up and Cool Down Guide
A proper a warm up and cool down improves performance
Warming up before any workout is critical for preventing injury and preparing your body properly for the work to come. However, we often skip it due to not having enough time or not thinking it is needed.
Before you exercise, think about warming up your muscles like you would warm up your car. You want to warm it up correctly so it can help you be more efficient and safer during your workout.
Why You Shouldn't Skip the Warm Up
1. Rev the Systems
A good warm-up before a workout gradually revs up your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature, increasing blood flow to your muscles by dilating your blood vessels and ensuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen and glucose.
2. Reduce Soreness and Risk of Injury
A warm up preps the body for the workout and reduces muscle soreness and lessen your risk of injury by preparing the joints, ligaments, circulatory system, and respiratory system.
3. Minimize Stress to the Heart
The warm up also helps minimize stress on your heart by slowly raising your heart rate and breath rate.
How to Warm Up Properly:
Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes. The more intense the activity, the longer the warm-up that is needed.
Use smaller ranges of movement and move slower then you would in the full workout when starting to warm up
If you can plan to running, walking, cycling, etc. you can do whatever activity you plan on doing at a slower pace (jog, walk slowly etc) as a warm up.
Use your entire body. Think of movements that use your whole body like - walking and doing some modified bent-knee push-ups.
Follow along with this guided Warm Up Video led by RENEW Health-Wellness Coach and Personal Trainer, Olivia Malloy.
Why You Shouldn't Skip the Cool Down
Many people often don't complete cool downs due to limited time or not feeling like it is needed, but the cool down is just as critical to good physical fitness.
1. Gradual Recovery
Cooling down after your workout allows for a gradual recovery of pre-exercise heart rate and blood pressure.
After physical activity, your heart is still beating faster than normal, your body temperature is higher and your blood vessels are dilated. Stopping suddenly can cause lightheadedness because your heart rate and blood pressure drop rapidly. This means if you stop too fast, you could pass out or feel sick.
A cool down after physical activity allows a gradual decrease at the end of the workout.
2. Reduce Muscle Cramping and Stiffness
It’s good to stretch when you’re cooling down because your limbs, muscles and joints are still warm. Stretching can help reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which can lead to muscles cramping and stiffness.
And stretching and cooling down at the end of your workout can help boost your flexibility, reduce the risk of injury, and decrease muscle tension in your body.
How to Cool Down Properly:
Walk for about 5-10 minutes, or until your heart rate gets below 120 beats per minute.
Slow down movements, don't rush you want to help your body return to pre-exercise heart rate and blood pressure.
Do some stretching - it should be strong stretch, no painful and do not bounce.
Breathe while you’re stretching. Exhale as you stretch, inhale while holding the stretch.
Do your body a favor by taking time to warm up and cool down. Gradually progress into your workout and cool down when you’re done being physically active. It is just as important as the workout itself and should not be forgotten on a fitness health journey.
Warm Up, Cool Down. www.heart.org. (2022). Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/warm-up-cool-down.