Warming up before and cooling down after exercise is an essential part of an exercise session. Whilst time spent warming up and cooling down may seem like time that could be better spent actually exercising this is certainly not the case.
Warm up exercises let the body prepare for exercise by increasing blood flow to the muscles allowing them loosen up. Not only can this help to maximise the benefits of exercise it can also help to prevent against injury.
The main areas that a warm up should cover are:
- Jogging to increase the body’s temperature
- Dynamic stretches to reduce muscle stiffness
- Specific stretches of the muscles that will be used during exercise
The process of cooling down after exercise is just as important as warming up. Cooling down:
- Allows the body to dissipate waste products such as lactic acid generated during exercise
- Reduces the chances of blood pools occurring in the areas where blood supply has been concentrated on during exercise which may cause light-headedness, sudden shortness of breath, weakness and cramps.
- Reduces the amount of adrenaline in the blood
- Allows heart rate to gradually return to a state of rest.
Whilst warm up and cooling down does not guarantee injuries will not occur during exercise it can significantly reduce the chances if carried out properly.
The information provided in this article is for guidance purposes only and should not be used in place of proper training.