Why Warm Ups and Cool Downs are Important

 

Welcome to week two of Elements. Let’s spend some time talking about the importance of a proper warm up and cool down. Both are often overlooked and/or skipped. However, without properly preparing your body for movement and restoring your body after movement, your risk for injury, pain, muscle tightness, and soreness increase significantly. We can all agree you want to feel good after an exercise session and recover quickly.

 

What does a proper warm up look like?

  1. Take 5-15 minutes to gradually increase your internal core temperature and heart rate with some light cardiovascular movements. Example: low intensity walking, biking, rowing, elliptical. The recommended timeframe will depend on the exercise type, exercise intensity, your fitness level, and age.  

  2. Start mimicking exercise movements at a lower intensity. This will activate the appropriate muscle groups that need to be used during activity. Don’t rush through the movements. Take it slow and allow your body to ‘wake up’ appropriate muscles.

  3. Foam rolling can also be a great tool to use during your warm up, especially if you’re already feeling tight or sore from a previous exercise session. Target those tense areas.

  4. Know your body. If you know you have a weaker core, spend some extra time activating your core muscles.   

Good rule of thumb: Someone watching your warm up should have a pretty good idea as to what activity you’re going to do.

 

What does a proper cooldown look like?

  1. Take 5-15 minutes to gradually decrease your internal core temperature and heart rate with some light cardiovascular movement. Example: low intensity walking, biking, elliptical. The recommended timeframe will depend on the exercise type, exercise intensity, your fitness level, and age.

  2. Stretch muscle groups you worked. Pick 1-2 stretches for each muscle group and hold each stretch from 15-30 seconds.

  3. Foam rolling can also be a great tool to use during your cool down. Target muscle groups you worked.

Let your coach know if you have any questions.

 

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