04 Jan How to effectively Warm Up & Cool Down
What is the difference between Warm Up & Cool Down?
The main purpose of warm up and cool down before & after exercise is to help condition your body. Warm up before exercise helps prepare the body for what it is about to do, and will aid in achieving peak physical performance. Cool down on the other hand, which is done after exercise, is designed to aid the body in recovering from the work it has just done. A proper cool down session will help prevent lactic acid buildup and sore and tired muscles the next day.
Your warm up should consist of light skill based cardio exercise, which is designed to get the heart rate up and increase circulation.
Skill based activities should be relevant to the activity you are about to do. For example, if you are going to be playing football on the forward line, skill based exercise should include drill with jumping/practice marking, kicking, jogging and small sprints. This prepares the correct muscles groups that are going to be used in the activity, and helps prevent injury.
Your warm up should also include some Dynamic stretching. These are stretches done with the body moving through a range of motion. To read more about dynamic stretching, check out our post from a few weeks ago “How to stretch correctly – the long & short of it”, where we discuss it in more detail.
This combination will properly prepare to body for what it is about to do, helping prevent injury and overstretching during activity. Your warm up will increase blood flow to the muscles, which helps them contract and relax rapidly, as they will need to during exercise.
Your warm up will increase blood flow to the muscles, which helps them contract and relax rapidly, as they will need to during exercise.
Your cool down should consist of light activity, such as walking, which helps reduce circulation gradually. With activity such as walking, you will have light muscular contraction, which allows for removal of waste products & lactic acid, which would otherwise be stored in the muscles and create tired and sore muscles after exercise.
You should also incorporate static stretching into your cool down. A static stretch is one done with the body stationary. This type of stretch allows for lengthening of the muscle. It helps the muscle to relax into it’s normal lengthened state, as muscles have a tendency to want to rest in a slightly contracted state after exercise.
You should spend 5-10 minutes on each component of your warm up and cool down, to properly prepare & recover your body.
A lot of the time, people can be impatient, and they just want to go straight into the activity, and then straight home afterwards, but taking the time to condition your body will pay off. It will have a cumulative effect on the body and you will be able to train harder and won’t require as much recovery time in between.