Workout Safety: The Importance of Warm Up and Cool Down
I never realized knew the difference and the benefits of a warm up and cooled down until I began school. All of my fitness has been Beach Body or Online Trainers. Unfortunately, I was never encouraged to do a Warm-Up or Cool Down nor do they usually program them in. That is why so many people are getting injured working out at home.
Just because you don’t have a treadmill at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t warm-up. Despite if your workout has a warm-up programmed in I would encourage you to Warm-Up and Cool Down on your own. Unfortunately, a lot of online trainers are either not certified at all, expired certification or no continuing credits. It is critical that you do your due diligience when working with one and check their credentials for your personal safety. Regardless, Warm-Up and Cooldown has been a necessity in a proper workout for many years. Why is it not emphasized? It’s like Breakfast to me the most important “meal” of the day. If you are a highly paid athlete or women just looking to lose a few pounds. Warm-Up and Cool-Down are mandatory. So, take the precautions if you have no idea what to do you can use the Warm-Up/Cooldown workout below or find your own. Just do it anyways despite if your Online Trainer suggests it. I know for DVD Video and Live Streams this is usually included in the workout.
Most people don’t feel there is enough time to add 10-20 minutes to cool down and exercise, but I find that a poor excuse. If you just work out the 150 minutes that are suggested a week you are the only exercise for a little over 1% of the 160 hours that you get a week. You have time! Make it!
Reasons Why You Should Warm-Up
- Helps to increase blood flow to the muscles that are being worked as well as a rise in temperature for both your body and muscles.
- When your body temperature rises, it helps to produce energy more efficiently which helps you with your workout.
- Increases the body and muscle temperature which contributes to increasing the rate of energy production.
- Contraction and reflex times severe with higher muscle temperatures.
- Exercising without warming up places a potentially serious stress on the heart. Warming up reduces the stress on the heart.
- Soft tissue (tendons, ligaments, muscles) injuries are less likely.
- Mentally prepared to workout
The Cooldown is equally important and as you get older something that you feel the immediate benefits. Despite your lack of time, you should make it a priority to bring your heart rate to a resting pace and prepare your body for the muscle building and repair it will do from your workout session. Proper cooldown is necessary to take care of your body. If you have been pushing hard and then just come to an abrupt stop, you know what that can do to your car brakes imagine your what it does to your body. We are adaptable creatures but like to take it step by step. Intense starts and stops and can be detrimental to your body. Cooling down is just not to gradually bring your body to a resting point it is also to prepare you for the next workout. The stretching done in your cool down is to lengthen, strengthen and prepare your muscles for the workouts to come. It is important to take this step and prioritize it in your workout schedule.
Five reasons cooling down is essential in your workout routine:
- Helps to regulate your breathing, body temperature and heart rate to your average pace slowly.
- During cool down, your blood is correctly distributed to the heart. The major organ helping keeps things going you don’t want to cause unnecessary stress from skipping your cool down.
- Blood redistribution during cool down also helps to get rid of the lactic acid that you have built up in your aerobic workout. Lactic acid can build up in your muscles which are what cause post workout muscle soreness. I don’t know about you, but I rather take a few minutes to cool down then spend the next two days struggling to sit down (and get back up.)
- Blood pooling is caused by abrupt stops during exercise. Consistent blood pooling can lead to blood clots, vascular deformations, and pelvic tumors.
- Blood pooling, abrupt stopping at the end of exercise can all lead to insufficient blood flow and oxygen which will result in you feeling dizzy, nauseous, and just fatigued or worn out.
Next time you work out whether prescribed to warmup or cooldown, just do it! Come 10-15 minutes early to your class or session to make sure you are properly warmed up. You can use the suggested Warm-Up cooldown below or foam roll, stretch and walk it out on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes just make sure that your body is prepared for the workout ahead. Then once you finished challenging yourself from an excellent workout take the time to cool down and bring your body back to a resting point gradually. Which will avoid some negative reactions, lengthen, strengthen, rebuild your body and prepare you for future workouts ahead? I used to not warmup/cooldown, and ever since I have added it to my workout routine, it has made a noticeable difference in my workout and the days afterward.
Do you warm up consistently or only when told? What about cool down?
A systematic review into the efficacy of static stretching as part of a warm-up for the prevention of exercise-related injury. (n.d.). Retrieved March 07, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18785063/
Clark, M., Sutton, B. G., & Lucett, S. (2014). NASM essentials of personal fitness training. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.