Do you often start working out without warming up and then end abruptly without even cooling down? Do you tend to make excuses that you don’t have enough time to do these things that is why you usually jump to the workout proper? Are you even aware that you need to warm up first and then cool down later?
Most people workout these days in order to stay fit and healthy. This is a good idea as many health experts suggest that people should stay active by doing physical activities as well as eat a balanced diet to remain healthy. However, just because the experts recommend that you exercise, they didn’t mean that you simply jump into the workout immediately. Many have injured themselves because of skipping the warm up and cool down stages when they exercise.
Benefits of Warming Up Before Exercising
The idea behind warm ups is to slowly raise your heart rate. As your heart rate increases, your body becomes warmer and more blood will flow to your muscles. With more blood flowing to your muscles the better oxygenated they become which helps in preparing them for the intense workout that you plan to do. Imagine your muscles as if they were like plasticine. If you’ve warmed it up, it becomes malleable as opposed to being too difficult to mold when it is cold. The same thing happens with your muscles. If you skipped warming up, your muscles, tendons, and joints won’t have their full flexibility which is important when you exercise.
Benefits of Cooling Down After Exercising
Ending your exercise routine abruptly makes you miss out on the benefits of the cooling down stage. One such benefit that you’re missing out on is your body’s ability to recover after a strenuous workout or to re-stretch your muscles. Cooling down is important as it helps your muscles to recover. The stretching that you do when you cool down helps strengthen your muscles so that they will be ready for your next workout.
The main goal of cooling down is to bring your heart rate, breathing, and body temperature back to their normal state. As you cool down, you are redistributing the blood in your heart which in turn can help remove the lactic acid that builds up around your muscles when you exercise. If you simply end your workout just like that without even allowing your body to cool down, chances are the blood will only pool around your leg muscles. This can cause lack of blood flow through the rest of your body which can lead to dizziness, the feeling of being worn out, and nausea.
When cooling your body down, you should devote 5 minutes at least to help normalize your breathing, heart rate, and body temperature. Static stretching is perfect for this as your muscles are already warm and elastic. The intensity of the workout at this point should be lower compared to your main exercise routine. Slow down your speed and intensity until you are properly cooled down.
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