The Importance of a Warm-Up and Cool-Down Before and After Your Workout

The Importance of a Warm-Up (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Why You Should Warm Up Before a Workout

Warming up before you launch into your workout is the best thing you can do to ensure you walk out of the gym having completed another great workout. But it also goes hand-in-hand with a number of other variables. Each of these things need to be on point, including:

  • Pre-workout nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Exercise selection
  • Training volume
The Importance of Warming Up Before Activity — Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin

Increased Body Temperature

As its name indicates, a key purpose of a warm-up is to increase your core body temperature. As the temperature of your muscles goes up, oxygen delivery to the cells will increase as blood circulation increases. This will allow the muscles to contract and relax.

Injury Prevention

When you warm up, you improve the elasticity of your muscles. As a result, your chances of pulling a muscle will be reduced. A gentle warm-up will also lubricate the joints to allow for ease of movement.

Increase Mobility

To perform optimally, you need to move your muscles through their full range of movement. Performing a dynamic stretching routine before launching into the workout will help relieve tired muscles and allow your muscles to effortlessly move through their entire range.

Stretching will help relieve tired muscles. (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Mental Preparation

Warming up allows you to get your mind in the game. Those few minutes provide you with the time to focus on the reason that you’re working out, to zero in on the goals for this specific workout, and to summon the mental intensity to give your best.

How to Warm Up Properly

You should allow 5–10 minutes prior to your workout for your warm-up. It should involve both a cardio and a muscular component. Begin with 5 minutes of light cardio. This could involve jogging on the spot, skipping, walking, cycling, or going lightly on a rowing machine. Move your muscles in an exaggerated manner to move them through their full range of motion.

Warming up is important (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Why You Should Cool Down After a Workout

Cooling down at the end of the workout involves taking a few minutes to transition from a working state back to a sedentary state. It may involve gradually easing down the intensity of your cardio workout to mirror the cardio warm-up that you did at the start of the workout.

How to Cool Down Properly

There are two parts to an effective cool-down: low-intensity cardio for 5 minutes, followed by static stretching for the muscles that have been activated in the workout.

Cool Down and Stretch — Mike Donavanik

Summary

Warming up and cooling down are important, but often overlooked, parts of the workout. By making the effort to do them, however, you will be setting yourself up for a safer, more productive workout, and help you avoid discomfort after the workout. Follow the guidelines provided to build these important bookends into your workout routine.

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