Why You Should Warm Up and Cool Down
Warmups and cool-downs usually involve doing your activity at a slower pace and a reduced intensity. Warming up helps to prepare your body for aerobic activity, it helps to gradually rev up your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles. It can also help to reduce muscle soreness and lessen your risk of injury. Cooling down after your workout allows for a gradual recovery of pre-exercise blood pressure and heart rate.
How to Warm Up
Ensure you warm up right before your workout. Generally warm up by focusing first on your large muscle groups, such as your hamstrings. Then you can do exercises that are more specific to your sport or the activity that your are doing if required. Begin by doing activity and movement patterns of your chosen exercise, but perform these at a slower pace that gradually increase in speed.
Some examples of warm ups can be:
- A slow walk for 5-10 minutes for a brisk walk
- A walk for 5-10 minutes for a run
- A slow swim then increase the pace
How to cool down
Cooling down is similar to warming up, you generally continue your workout for five minutes or more but at a slower pace. You can stretch aswell which can help your joints to move through a full range of motion.
Examples of cool downs:
- Walk slowly for 5 minutes after a brisk walk
- Walk briskly for 5 minutes after a run
- Swim slowly for 5 minutes after a swimming session
The NHS website has various examples of warmups and cool-downs.