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.
Such a good post. I am so guilty of jumping right in and working out and not cooling down at the end. This is a great reminder.
I usually warmup but cooldown I slack. I am guilty too
I’ve been making myself warm-up. I guess I need to work on cool-downs now!
If its not one thing its another. Thats awesome you get a warmup in youre half way there
I don’t warm up before I run. I usually consider my first mile my “warm up”!
Ypit first mile if treaded lightly cN be yoir warmup. Its the stretching and the SMR that I struggle with.
I am so guilty of not warming up properly even though I know better!
I’m all about a dynamic warmup and some cool down exercises and foam rolling for sure!
I’m pretty guilty of skipping my warm up, but I always make time for a cool down. I definitely have some work to do lol
Yes to both warm-up and cool-down…but do I do them long enough? Probably not LOL
Great post! I am better at the cool down I think than the warm up but when I do run I take my first mile really slow and make sure everything is awake!
I definitely need to do a better job with warming-up. I usually try to do some static stretching before my runs. I have two foam rollers – those things are the devil!! 🙂
I’ve been diligent with my warm-up and cooldowns to avoid any more hamstring flare-ups. 5 minutes of dynamic exercises focusing on my hips and glutes and 10 minutes of stretching/core afterwards.
If I’m racing I definitely do a warm-up to get my muscles going. If I’m just doing easy runs I usually don’t warm up much since I’m going super easy anyway. It’s definitely important to be vigilant to avoid injury!
I am a fitness instructor 3 days a week and definitely agree with you the importance of warming up and cooling down. I try to walk a little while before beginning a run, but I do skip stretching afterward. We stretch for 5 minutes after my class is over. Thanks for sharing!
Ehhhh. I’m not so good at either of these. I definitely don’t warm up before running, although I will walk a little at the end of a run (and sometimes roll or stretch, although not always right away). When I do my circuit training, we definitely warm up, and the same holds true for spin. Yoga has warm ups and cool downs already built in, so I’m good there.
I’m pretty good about cooling down, but need to be much better about warming up. Thanks for the reminder.
I love this. And you’ve written it all together perfectly. I’m really good at warmup, my body demands it. My cool down unfortunately is dictated by how much time I have left before I have to get back to real life.
The warm up and cool down is so important. I am good about warming up, but sometimes Im rushing to get to work and dont spend as much time cooling down as I should. Some days I do some foam rolling after my run.
GReat post! In the past I have not taken the time to warm up or cool
Down, but I am now making a point of it!
Yes! I am so guilty of not doing the warm-up and yesterday I paid for it on my 6 miler!! Thanks for the reminders 🙂
As I get older, my recovery time is less when I stretch before and after my runs. I have gotten so bad at this though, thanks for the reminder!
Yes, hopefully it’ll become a new habit for you!
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