The Importance of Warming Up and Cooling Down

So far I’ve blogged personal anecdotes and updates, but on today’s blog I decided to give more fitness advice! Sometimes we jump right into the workout, no warm up, just get right into it! I’m guilty of this too. We think we don’t have enough time, so we skip what we don’t think is necessary – the warm up and cool down, however these are crucial to efficiently and safely working out!

Unfortunately, we aren’t cars and can go from 0 to 60 in 3.5. We need to spend some time getting our heart rates elevated and blood flowing before getting into our heavy lifts or cardio. Then after the workout, we need to get our heart rates gradually back down to resting and not have our blood pool all into our limbs and potentially pass out. Here are some tricks on how warm up and cool down:

Warm Up:

x Foam Roll – spend a few seconds or couple rolls on major muscle groups. My go to’s: calves, hamstrings, glutes, back, lats, shins, quads, hip flexors, inner thighs, and pecs.

x Dynamic Stretches – you move into these stretches instead of holding them for a certain amount of time. For example, I’ll do knee hugs or a dynamic standing quad stretch.

x Body Weight Movements – Depending on what I’m working out that day, I may do body weight squats or lunges before doing them weighted. This helps prepare the body for movement without exerting too much energy – just enough!

x Cardio – Light biking, walking, jogging, or elliptical can also be done as a warm up.

Cool Down:

x Cardio – This is very similar, if not the same as cardio for warming up. This will help circulate blood flow more efficiently back to the heart.

x Static Stretches – These stretches you can hold for 30 seconds to a minute. This will also help with blood flow as well as improving flexibility.

Simple enough right? Making the time to prepare yourself and your body for the workout as well as gradually get your body back to its resting state will help prevent injury and perform better and longer!

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