When you’re planning to do a workout it’s important that you warm-up and cool-down properly before and after. In our article below, we’ll look at why warming-up and cooling-down is important, as well as a how to guide.
Why should I warm-up and cool-down?
Warming-up before exercise helps you to prepare mentally and physically. It increases your heart rate, which increases the amount of oxygen going to your muscles. A warm-up also primes the connections between your nerves and muscles to improve the efficiency of movement. Your range of motion can also be increased by doing dynamic stretching during your warm-up.
A cool-down is just as important because it keeps the blood flowing through the body. Stopping exercise suddenly can cause light-headedness because your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Making sure to stretch after exercise also will help to prevent you from becoming stiff.
How to warm-up
A warm-up should take 5-10 minutes. The more intense the activity, the longer you should warm-up for. Some warm-ups you could try include:
- Fast-paced walking
- Walking up and down the stairs
- Fast-paced side stepping
- Jogging on the spot
- Arm swings
How to cool-down
A simple way to cool-down is to reduce the intensity of the workout you have been doing. For example, if you have been jogging, walk for 5 minutes.
You should also stretch each of the main muscle groups. When stretching, hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. If you feel you need more, you can stretch the other side and come back. The stretch should be strong, but not painful, and you shouldn’t bounce. Don’t forget to breathe.