Keeping you in the know about exercise and nutrition

Importance of warming up and cooling down

When your body is about to undergo strenuous exercise, you should make sure  that the body is safely warmed up first. All safe exercise routines should  include a simple warm up and cool down section. This will ensure your body is  adequately warmed and able to cope with the following work out.

When we start to exercise our bodies, physiological changes must occur in  order for the body to work at its optimum level. These changes include, an  increased breathing rate and heart rate, an increased blood flow to the muscle  and an increased energy-releasing response from the muscle itself.

If this is not taken into consideration when exercising, the body will not be  prepared for the demands placed upon it. This can then cause unnecessary damage  to the muscles and ligaments or may cause premature fatigue.

Warming Up

You need to warm up for at least 10 minutes. Your aim is to increase your  heart rate slightly and then move onto gaining flexibility. It is good to start  with exercises that increase the heart rate, so you are slightly warmer when you  eventually start your stretches. This way you are less likely to cause  injury.

Exercises that increase the heart rate slightly are gentle jogging, fast  walking or jumping. You should feel that your heart rate is slightly raised as  you begin your routine. Exercises which increase flexibility include knee  lifting, placing your hands on your hips and making a circular movement, raising  and lowering your shoulders, gently tilting your head from side to side to  stretch the neck and also gently stretch the back.

Cooling Down

Cooling down is also a vital part of your exercise routine. You want to  return your cardiovascular system to its former level. Your breathing and heart  rate need to return to normal. When you are exercising, your body is delivering  a high level of blood to muscles. If you suddenly stop your exercise, the  high-level blood flow continues. This dramatic change in the body’s responses  can cause dizziness or even fainting. Not the safest thing to happen when weight  lifting or on a treadmill. In addition, whilst you have been exercising, Lactic  acid has built up in your muscles. This can be removed more effectively from the  muscles by performing gentle exercises in your cooling down session. By  incorporating a simple 10 minute cool down, you can return your body to its pre  exercise levels safely.

Your aim is to cool down slowly and let the muscles cool down at the same  pace. If you are running, it is good to slow the pace to a walk. If you are  weight training, it is good to perform stretches of the muscles you have been  using. Cool down should last for at least 5-10 minutes. Try to hold the  stretches for a longer time than you did when you were warming up. Stretching  the muscles you have worked on maybe also reduce post workout aches. By  following these simple precautions you will ensure your muscles can be exercised  safely.

Article Source:

Ross Smith – Personal Trainer Cheltenham


One response

  1. Pingback: Time To Get Fit Again « Nick's Blog

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