Most of us do not warm up and if we do, it is not done properly. We usually skip the warm up as we either don’t have the time or do not fully appreciate the value of this component of our workout. Cool down periods are just a rarity.
The warm up and cool down are often the most neglected part of the average workout. There are many benefits to an effective warm up. It provides us with a window to psychologically prepare ourselves for the exercise ahead.
It should begin with a gradual increase in heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen consumption. This combined with dilation of the blood vessels and increased heat produced by the working muscles, helps to increase their elasticity and reduces the chances of pulling anything.
The cool down is notoriously neglected as well. What must be understood is that everything that was accelerated during the work out must be decelerated, in particular, the heart rate, respiration and overall metabolism.
This ensures there will be adequate circulation to the muscles, heart and brain by preventing blood pooling, reducing the likelihood of dizziness and even fainting! So don’t hit the showers straight after you’ve finished, this is an integral part to the workout.
Ideally, the warm up and cool down should each take about five minutes and both consist of two distinct components, flexibility and mobility exercises and a gradual aerobic activity like walking.
Extensive research has shown a direct correlation between proper warm ups and cool downs and improvement in overall performance, strength and fitness goals and a reduction in the risk of injury.
Get to the gym five minutes earlier and get that warm up done. You may regret it if you injure yourself and then you won’t be rushing to the gym for a while.
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