warm up & cool down

You’re dressed, hydrated and have your workout mix ready to rock. You may look the part, but you’re not ready to workout until you’ve warmed up.

Many stroll into the gym and jump into their full workout routine, but if you are not warming up, you’re gambling with an injury that could set your gains back days, or event weeks.

Warming up & cooling down are essential parts of your workout routine.

I’m already here for an hour, why do I need to add more time?

Running? Weight Training? Boxing? You need to be warmed up, working toward your target heart zone, and mentally focused for the task at hand.

Warm up benefits:

  • Raise the body’s temperature and literally warm up the muscles
  • Improve flexibility and range of motion
  • Start to move your heart rate into your target zone for training
  • Mentally prepare and focus on the task you are about to begin

How long and how intense?

Your warm up should last from 5-15 minutes. You should feel your body warming up, light perspiration forming and if you’re using a heart rate monitor, you should be at least 45% of your maximum heart rate.

Great job! You’ve put in a solid workout, now cool down. Wait, what?

Yes, you need to bring your heart rate down and let your blood circulate through your body. Your cool down should last from 5-15 minutes. It can consist of a slower pace of the activity you were doing (such as going from a full run to a light jog or speed walking) or stretching or light yoga.  It’s also time to replenish lost fluids with water, sports drink or a protein shake.

Cool down benefits:

  • Bring your heart rate down and out of your training zone
  • Prevents your blood from pooling and possibly fainting (If you go from a high intensity activity to suddenly no activity, your blood may pool in your lower extremities and oxygen may not get to your brain and key organs)
  • Helps remove lactic acid build up
  • Improve flexibility and range of motion

Warming up and cooling down keeps you in the game longer and can prevent unnecessary accidents and injuries. Combined, the two add 10-30 minutes to your routine, but like your workout, it’s time well invested.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. I always try to warm up 5 minutes before and after a run, but I am guilty of not stretching as much as I should. I need to change that!

    1. I got into the habit of stretching about 2 years ago!

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