Why You Should Warm-up and Cooldown When You Workout
So many people literally just run out the door and run 3 miles first thing in the morning. Or, as soon as they finish that last Hamstring Curl in the gym, they hit the showers. Sound familiar? Did you know that you could get a better quality workout and recover better for your next workout by incorporating a Warm-up and Cooldown when you workout.
Ideally, your warm-up should include some form of easy movements that mimic what you’ll do in your workout (ie., walking before running or doing lighter strength training sets before lifting heavy). It can include some form of total body easy cardiovascular exercise like walking, the elliptical or rower, for example. Some people add in Self-Myofascial Release techniques (we’ll talk more about this in another article) or mobility exercises. Bottom line is that you are trying to prep your body for the challenging workout to come.
Cooldowns after a cardio workout should bring your heartrate back down by lowering the intensity of the exercise that you were doing for a few minutes before stopping. All Cooldowns should include some stretching. It’s a great time to do some static (held) stretches for the tight muscle groups or the muscles you just used. Hold the stretches at least 30 seconds without going to a point of pain and don’t bounce. BONUS, the stretching is very relaxing-what a great way to end a workout!
Warming up and cooling down don’t have to take much time, even 5 minutes at the beginning and end of your workout can make a big difference. Try to make time for these important pieces of your workout and you’ll reap big benefits.