Here’s Why Warmups and Cooldowns Need to be Part of Your Workout Routine
Warming up and cooling down are two important components of every fitness routine, but how can you use them to improve the quality of your workout?
Benefits of a Warmup
Although there’s no strict definition for what constitutes a “warmup,” the basic idea is doing an activity or exercise at a slower pace to help prepare the body for more intense aerobic workout.
A warmup gradually engages your cardiovascular system, which raises your body temperature and increases blood flow to the muscles. This improves the elasticity (the stretchiness of muscle tissue) and can help reduce muscle tightness, pain, and risk of injury.
A warmup can also be an exercise in itself. Stretching during or immediately after your warmup can improve your flexibility in both the long and short term. Just remember to stretch after you’ve done a short aerobic exercise to get the blood flowing to your muscles.
Properly warming up before a workout can also benefit your mental state. If you start your fitness routine with heavy weights or a strenuous aerobic fitness routine, you’re more likely to be discouraged. Starting slowly and easing yourself into your exercises gradually prepares you for a full and effective workout.
Benefits of a Cooldown
After you finishing a workout, a 10-minute cooldown allows body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure to return to their normal levels. Stopping an intense exercise abruptly without a cool down can possibly lead to dizziness or even fainting.
Cooldown exercises, like stretching, walking, foam rolling, and deep breathing, can help lower your risk of injury and reduce stress to the heart and other muscles.
If you’re looking to incorporate more stretching into your workout routine, try starting with some beginner yoga poses. Stretching helps improve your flexibility as well as range of motion around the joints, while also benefitting balance and bone health.
This Monday, take a few extra minutes before and after your workout to fit in a warmup and cooldown.