You might have observed athletes doing a brisk walk, jogging in place, or stretching before the game starts. They are actually doing warm-up exercises to prepare their bodies for the game ahead. What’s more, after they have played, they do not sit down right away. Instead they perform cool down exercises such as walking. Warm up and cool down exercises are necessary for guarding your well-being especially when you do strenuous exercises. Warm up and cool down routines differ in terms of purpose, type and duration of the exercise needed.
Purpose of Warm Up and Cool Down Exercises
A warm-up exercise is performed to make the blood vessels dilate so that they will be able to supply enough oxygen to the muscles. When you do a warm-up routine, your body temperature, and heart rate increase so that you that your heart will not be stressed when you perform the actual workout. Moving around prior to a workout prepares the joints and tendons so that injury in these body parts is prevented. Just like your car, your body needs a warm up so that your flexibility and efficiency will increase.
On the other hand, cooling down exercises will help your heart slow down first before you take a rest. It will also lower your body temperature. When you stop moving abruptly after your exercise, you expose yourself to becoming dizzy or sick. Stretching is one of the cooling down exercises that are highly recommended. This will help prevent muscle pains that most people experience after their routine.
Warm Up and Cool Down Exercise
Warm up and cool down exercises are almost the same. The difference lies in the duration and intensity of the performance. Here are the tips on how to effectively warm up before you start your workout.
- Spend 5 to 10 minutes warming up
It is important to exercises 5 to 10 minutes prior to your workout. If you are going to have a strenuous exercise, make your warm up a little bit longer than 5 minutes and make it more intense. If the workout that you will engage in is not highly demanding, do exercises that are short and less intense.
- Perform routines that will increase your heart rate
Running at a slow pace, brisk walking, cycling, stretching – all these will gradually increase your body temperature and your heart rate. This will bring your body to a point where it is already ready for more strenuous physical activities. You can go running, brisk walking, cycling or jogging but at a pace that is slower than when you perform these routines as your actual workout.
- Involve your whole body
Choose an exercise that will involve your whole body. Select a warm-up routine that will increase your heart rate and body temperature and prime your joints and muscles so that your body is ready to start your workout. You can run on the treadmill or do squats and pushups as well.
After your workout, you need to cool down. Exercises that will gradually return to normal your heart rate and body temperature are important. When it comes to cooling down, here are some tips on what routines to perform and how.
- Spend 5 to 10 minutes cool down
Walk for about 5 to 10 minutes after your workout. Wait until your heart rate is below 120 beats per minute before resting.
Do some stretching and hold it for 20 to 30 seconds. Do it on one side then the other. Stretch strongly but not to the point where it becomes painful. When you stretch, your blood circulation is maintained in some areas of the body. This helps heal damaged muscles when you strain yourself during workout.
- Do not jump
Avoid bouncing because this can increase your heart rate. Just walk around until your heart beats normally.
- Breathe while you stretch
When you stretch while cooling down, do breathing exercises at the same time. Inhale when you hold your stretch and exhale while you are stretching. This will help you breathe normally.
Of course, replacing lost fluids and nutrients when you work out is important after you exercise. Drink plenty of water and eat something that is high in carbohydrates and protein. This will facilitate muscle repair and muscle growth.