If you’re like me you have a limited amount of time each day to dedicate to your daily workout so sometimes in an effort to save time, I skip the warm up or cool down. However, although they might add a few extra minutes to your daily workout, the warm up and cool down are very important to help reduce the risk of injury and improve athletic performance. The following are some tips to help incorporate a quick warm up and cool down to your workouts.
A warm up is important to gradually get your cardiovascular system ready for the upcoming workout. It raises your body temperature and creates better blood flow to your muscles which in turn can help reduce the muscle soreness you feel the next day. A warm up slowly raises your heart rate and therefore minimizes stress on your heart. In order to get the most out of your warm up, begin by doing a dynamic warmup which means doing the activity and movement patterns of your exercise but at a reduced intensity. A good warm up will cause mild sweating but won’t tire you out. Some great warm up activities include a brisk 5 mins. walk, a slow jog or some bent knee push ups.
Cooling down after a workout is just as important as warming up your body. A good cool down includes about 5 minutes of your workout activity but at a slower pace. It’s also a great idea to include stretching in both your warm up and cool down. Not only does it improve your flexibility and range of motion but it will help prevent muscle soreness as well because it helps to reduce a buildup of lactic acid. When stretching, be sure not to bounce and to hold your stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. The stretch should not be painful but you should feel it. Five minutes of cooling down allows your heart rate and body temperature to return to normal and helps to regulate blood flow.
The next time you do a workout don’t forget to include a 5-minute warm up and cool down. Your body will thank you!
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