Lots of people are not aware of the importance of warming-up and cooling down before and after a workout. Professional coaches consider that skipping these two stations of your session is the biggest mistake you are making. Skipping your warm-up or cooling down can lead to injuries and sticking to them will sure prevent these unwanted harms. In this article, you will find four tips for a good warm-up and cool down for your next workout.
1. Always start with a dynamic warm-up
Many think that stretching before a workout is good for your body and that it will help you reduce the risks of injuries. However, it is quite the opposite. You should not stretch before your workout, or else you will loosen yourself up and hurt your cold muscles. Instead, you must warm these muscles by running or performing 15 to 20 leg or arm swings. Doing 20 arm circles is also a good way to warm these body parts, but make sure that your hands are outstretched by your sides and at shoulder height. Start by circling them clockwise, and then counterclockwise. You must allow the blood to pump through t=your muscles before you start your training to reduce any chance of a strained or pulled muscle.
2. Get your blood pumping before exerting yourself
As we mentioned before, your blood must be pumping before you start your actual workout, to increase the oxygen, nutrients, and blood flow to your muscles and increase their extensibility. You can start with brisk walking or a light jog. Walking with high knees is a good option as well and walking butt kicks can be beneficial. The aim of this is to raise your heart rate slowly and warm your muscles for up to 15 minutes so your body is ready for the stress and pressure of the workout.
3. Slowly reduce your heart rate with a light walk when you finish
During your workout, your heart rate is most likely going to increase, and it is essential to slow it down before you leave the gym. You can use a treadmill or walk around the gym at a pace slower than the workout so that your heart rate slows down and goes back to normal. If your heart rate is very high after a workout, then take between 10 to 15 minutes to slow it down allowing your body to cool down and return to its resting state.
4. Perform a static stretch when you finish your workout
Now is the time for a good stretch, when you finish your workout and you want your muscles to rest and recover well. After heavily using your muscles, they will become tight as they cool down. Stretching them will help them maintain their flexibility and help you avoid feeling sore the next day of the workout. You should hold in the stretching position for 30 to 45 seconds. Push as much as you can until you are at a deep and comfortable point of the stretch but without feeling any pain.