Warming up and cooling down are two of the most important parts of your fitness routine, but they’re also the part that is often missed out. Find a Personal Trainer in NYC.
Many people don’t realize how important warming up and cooling down your body are to your exercise performance, allowing you to perform faster, better and stronger. Exercises such as stretching also help to improve long-term flexibility whilst helping to reduce muscle pain and stiffness.
Why is it important to warm up before exercising?
An effective warm up will dilate your blood vessels, stimulating your circulatory system. This will help to ensure that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen. It will also raise your body temperature, increasing the flexibility and efficiency of your muscles to help to reduce the chance of injury.
A good warm up will slowly raise your heart rate, helping to minimize the stress on your heart. The warm up should give your circulatory and respiratory systems time to prepare for the upcoming workout.
How to warm up effectively before exercise:
Concentrate on gradually warming up your muscles before you begin any high-intensity exercise. You are aiming to slowly increase your heart rate and your respiratory rate whilst also increasing the temperature and flexibility of your muscles.
Many people ask how long a warm up should be. Your warm up should last for between five and ten minutes. Typically, the more intense the activity, the longer your warm up should be.
The easiest way to warm up is to do whatever activity you’re planning to do for your main workout but slower. So, if you’re planning on running, you could spend five to ten minutes walking, gradually increasing your pace.
You should also try to use your entire body to ensure that all of your muscles warm up. This might mean circling your arms whilst walking or doing some press ups to ensure that your upper body is also warmed up.
Why is it important to cool down after exercise?
The cool down is just as important as the warm up. If you stop your workout too suddenly, you may find that you become light-headed or feel sick. This is because your heart rate and blood pressure have dropped too rapidly.
A good cool down will slowly bring your heart rate and respiratory rate down, whilst allowing your muscles and your body to return to their normal temperature.
How to cool down effectively after exercise:
You should begin your cool down by walking for around five minutes, or until your heart rate drops below 120 beats per minute. This will allow your body to begin to return to a normal temperature whilst your heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure slowly decrease.
When your heart rate has decreased, you can begin stretching. Stretching can help to reduce the build up of lactic acid which causes muscle cramping and stiffness. You should hold each stretch for between 10 and 30 seconds and although the stretch should feel strong, it should not be painful. If you feel any pain, reduce the stretch slightly.
As you perform each stretch, remember to breathe. Slowly inhale and exhale, focusing on your breathing. As well as helping to reduce your respiratory rate, focusing on your breathing can help you to feel grounded, promoting positive mental wellbeing.
Take Home Message
Warming up and cooling down is often forgotten during workout routines. However, the benefits of properly warming up before exercise and cooling down afterwards are vast and should not be overlooked.
Time the time to gradually progress into your workout, allowing your heart rate and respiratory rate to slowly increase. When you’ve finished your fitness regime, slowly allow your body to cool down to prevent feeling light-headed.
When you hire a local personal trainer, they’ll talk you through the best warm up and cool down routines for your fitness regime.