We’ve all heard it time and time again…Integrating regular exercise into your life has been proven to:
- decrease the risk of developing certain diseases
- increase overall health
- reduce anxiety and depression
- and can even help you live a longer life
When done regularly and correctly, exercise will boost your energy and mood and in general make you a happier person.
Ok so you got the facts, AGAIN!
But did you catch the keywords to here?? Exercise done CORRECTLY! Here’s where we all (even the best of us) fall into a trap, myself included).
Warmups & Cool Downs to Help You
In order to reap benefits and decrease risk, incorporate warmups and cool downs into your routine.
Warmups are meant to gradually rev up your cardiovascular system, increase body temperature and get your muscles ready for the work ahead.
Cool downs do the opposite, by safely decreasing heart rate and blood pressure. Integration of the warm up and cool down will make it so you can exercise all through life with less risk of injury or strain.
A common exercise mistake is to neglect the warm up and cool down phase of a work out.
If you have a 45 minute window for exercise, it is far more beneficial to incorporate 10 minutes of warm up and cool down then intense cardio or weights in between.
The alternative is to hit it hard for the full 45 minutes which can result in injury or strain and inability to exercise at all.
Get the low-down on the exercises that provide the most beneficial warmup and cool down.
Gym Equipment Multi Taskers
A great way to cool down is to slow your motion on the gym equipment you are already using.
The treadmill and stationary bike are great examples of equipment that can rev up your cardio then cool it down as well.
If you are gearing up for a big cardio training day on the treadmill, incorporate light cardio as your pre-workout. This will bring a bit of blood to the muscles, getting them ready for interval training or long distances. At the end, you can go slow for a cool down.
Transition from a fast run, to a fast walk, to a normal walk to get the greatest cool down benefits.
The foam roller is relatively new to the exercise scene and it has tremendous benefits to the pre-workout routine.
To get started with it:
- place the foam roller on a hard surface then on a muscle such as the quad
- use the quad and arm muscles to support your body weight
- roll back and forth with it
The roller loosens up muscles before a hard core workout. It is best done before stretching and light cardio warm up.
Stretching muscles before a workout is especially important if you don’t exercise regularly. Light stretching will decrease the risk of injury of tearing of the muscles.
Simple movements like touching your toes 15-20 times, or sitting with your legs straight and reaching towards your toes, are simple and effective stretches.
A healthy pre-workout stretch is meant to take you just outside of your comfort zone, so don’t push it too hard!
This is the rockstar of all post workouts.
Yoga is the perfect cool down because it continues to encourage light blood flow while stretching the muscles and slowing your breath and mind.
These targeted stretches really loosen up muscles after a workout. Muscle groups that tend to need these stretches the most are back, neck and shoulders as they are most prone to strain.
The Gist of it
This is a beginners guide to pre and post-workout warmups and cool downs. If you already have an injury it is ALWAYS best to consult your physician before any working out.
Otherwise, give yourself that bit of time to warm up and cool down your body and you will see the results in your ability to exercise for all the years to come.
Do you include warmups and cool downs in your exercise routine?
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