• Hannah Hicks

Do I really need to Warm Up and Cool Down?



I know how you feel- the last thing I want to do before jumping into a fun exercise class is to warm up. I’d much rather have a post-game dance party with my teammates than stretch. Even though it may add a few extra minutes to your workout, warming up and cooling down is vital to performing your best and getting the most out of your workout, whether you are a beginner, frequent exerciser, or professional athlete.


Why do we need to warm up?



Prepares your body for exercise


Warming up gives your body an opportunity to ease into exercise. It prepares your body for the specific movements and intensity of your workout by warming your muscles and increasing circulation, body temperature, and heart rate. It also pumps oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to your muscles. This helps you get the most out of your workout and/or perform at your peak.


Can prevent Injuries


Warming up may reduce muscle soreness and lessen the risk of injury by loosening the joints and increasing blood flow to muscles. Keeping muscles warm can prevent acute injuries like hamstring pulls and strains, and it helps avoid overuse injuries by gradually preparing the body for exercise.


Helps you mentally prepare


Warming up gives athletes (and recreational exercisers!) an opportunity to mentally prepare for a competition or practice. Speaking from my own experience, it helps me get in the right headspace to perform my best. Teams can also use this time to practice together briefly before a game or competition.


Why do we need to cool down?



Helps restore your body to its pre-exercise state


Cooling down gives your body the chance to gradually recover to its resting heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure.


Helps prevent dizziness


Dizziness can occur from stopping a high-intensity activity too quickly. However, cooling down can help prevent this by gradually lowering the intensity of your exercise.


Prevents lactic acid build-up


Cooling down helps the body dispose of toxins and waste products created during exercise, like lactic acid. When lactic acid builds up during exercise, it can cause stiffness and cramps the next day.


Relaxes your muscles


Stretching in a cool down lengthens your muscles to improve your range of motion. It also helps them relax, which helps with muscle recovery and may reduce muscle cramps after exercise.


How to warm up and cool down


Warming up and cooling down should each take about 5-10 minutes and focus on main muscle groups.



Warming up

  • You should warm-up right before your workout

  • Many warm-ups focus on light cardiovascular activities and range of motion exercises

  • Start with a low intensity and gradually pick it up

  • It may make you sweat, but you should be fatigued

  • Some examples:

  • A dynamic warm-up with exercises specific to your activity

  • Walking slowly before a brisk walk

  • Walking briskly or jogging before a run

  • Swimming lightly before an intense swim



Cooling Down

  • You should cool down right after your workout

  • Many cooldowns are similar to your workout but at a slower-paced and reduced intensity

  • Gradually lower the intensity to ease out of exercise

  • Some examples:

  • Walking slowly after a brisk walk

  • Walk briskly or jogging after a run

  • Swimming lightly after swimming intensely

  • Stretching is another important part of a cooldown

  • Consists of slow movements and stretches

  • Hold each stretch for about 10-30 seconds

  • Best done after the cooldown when your muscles are warm (do NOT stretch cold muscles)


So, do I really need to warm up and cool down?



The answer is yes! You absolutely need to warm up and cool down to ease your body in and out of exercise. It will help you perform your best, get the most out of your activity, and recover.




SOURCES


https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercise-101-dont-skip-the-warm-up-or-cool-down

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20045517

http://www.nsmi.org.uk/articles/injury-prevention/index.html

























Notes:

  1. Harvard Health

  2. Warm up

  3. Pumps oxygen and nutrient rich blood to your muscles

  4. Speeds up your heart rate and breathing

  5. About 5-10 mins and works all main muscle groups

  6. Start with a low intensity and gradually pick it up

  7. Many warm ups focus on cardio and range of motion exercises

  8. Cool down

  9. 5-10 minutes

  10. Sequence of slow movements and stretches

  11. Relax and lengthens muscles to improve range of motion

  12. Hold each stretch about 10-30 seconds

  13. Helps prevent dizziness and muscle cramps

  14. Slows your breathing and heart rate

  15. Mayo Clinic

  16. Why

  17. Both

  18. Generally involve doing the activity at a lower intensity and slower pace

  19. Gives your body an opportunity to ease into and out of exercise

  20. Controversy on whether it actually helps reduce the risk of injury (but warming up and cooling down poses no risk)

  21. Warm up

  22. Preps your body and cardiovascular system to workout

  23. Raises body temperature

  24. Increases blood flow to your muscles

  25. May reduce muscle soreness and lessen the risk of injury

  26. Cool down

  27. Gradual recovery to resting heart rate and blood pressure

  28. Helps with blood flow

  29. Doesn’t seem to reduce muscle stiffness and soreness after exercise (more research is needed)

  30. How

  31. Warm up

  32. Right before you start your workout

  33. 5-10 minutes

  34. Start with a low intensity, working large muscle groups

  35. Gradually pick up the intensity and do exercises specific to your activity as needed (dynamic warm up)

  36. May make you sweat, but should not make you fatigued

  37. Some other examples:

  38. Walk slowly before a brisk walk

  39. Walk briskly before a run

  40. Swim lightly before picking up the pace

  41. Cool down

  42. Similar to your workout but at a slower pace and reduced intensity

  43. Some other examples:

  44. Walk slowly after a brisk walk

  45. Walk briskly after a run

  46. Swim lightly after a swimming

  47. Stretching

  48. Best done after the cool down when your muscles are warm

  49. Improves flexibility and range of motion

  50. Can improve performance by allowing joints to move through full range of motion

  51. NSMI

  52. Warm up

  53. What

  54. Combination of stretching, light cardiovascular activity and strength exercises

  55. Cardiovascular exercises increase circulation, body temperature and heart rate

  56. Stretching warms muscles and prepares them for the activity

  57. Warm muscles help avoid injuries

  58. 20-30 minutes

  59. Subs should keep their muscles warm when they are not playing

  60. Effects

  61. Prepares the body for exercise and specific movements

  62. Gradually increases the above ^^^ to loosen the joints and increase blood flow to muscles

  63. Can help prevent injuries

  64. Keeping muscles warm prevents acute exercises (eg hamstring pulls)

  65. Helps avoid overuse injuries by gradually preparing the body for exercise

  66. Can help an individual mentally prepare for a game or practice, gives teams an opportunity to work together before a game

  67. Cool down

  68. What

  69. Light exercise after intense physical activities, light cardiovascular activity and stretching

  70. Combination of gradually decreases the heart rate and body temperature (light cardiovascular activities) and relaxes the muscles (stretching)

  71. Restores the body to resting state

  72. Effects

  73. Helps the body dispose of toxins and waste products created during exercise

  74. Lactic acid- can cause stiffness and cramps the next day if it builds up

  75. Helps prevent dizziness

  76. Can happen from suddenly stopping an activity





Sources used:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercise-101-dont-skip-the-warm-up-or-cool-down

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20045517

http://www.nsmi.org.uk/articles/injury-prevention/index.html



Other good sources for different info:

https://www.chop.edu/news/health-tip/ready-set-run

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000859.htm


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