Warming up before and cooling down before exercise is an essential part of exercise session. Whilst time spent warming up and cooling down may seem like time that could be better spent actually exercising this is certainly not the case.
Warm up exercises let the body to prepare for exercise by increasing blood flow to the muscles allowing them loosen up. Not only can this help to maximize the benefits of exercise it can also help to prevent against injury.
The main arrears that a warm up should cover are:
Jogging to increase the body’s temperature.
Dynamic stretches to reduce muscle stiffness.
Specific stretches of the muscles that will be used during exercise.
The Sauna Suit is great for warming up your muscles very quickly and will help reduce any injuries caused by not being warmed up properly.
The process of cooling down after exercise is just as important as warming up. Cooling down:
Allows the body to dissipate waste products such as lactic acid generated during exercise
Reduces the chances of blood pools occurring in the areas where blood supply has been concentrated on during exercise which may cause light-headedness, sudden shortness of breath, weakness and cramps.
Reduces the amount of adrenaline in the blood.
Allows heart rate to gradually return to a state of rest.
Whilst warm up and cooling down does not guarantee injuries will not occur during exercise it can significantly reduces the chances if carried out properly.
Warm-up and cool-down stretches
Face a wall, standing about 2 feet away from it. Keeping your heels flat and your back straight, lean forward slowly and press your hands and forehead to the wall. You should feel stretching in the area above your heels (this area is shaded in the picture). Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and then relax. Repeat.
Face a wall, standing about 1 foot away from it. Support yourself by placing your right hand against the wall. Raise your right leg behind you and grab your foot with your left hand. Gently pull your heel up toward your buttock, stretching the muscles in the front of your right leg for 20 seconds. Repeat the stretch with your left leg.
Squat down and put both hands on the floor in front of you. Stretch your left leg straight out behind you. Keep your right foot flat on the floor and lean forward with your chest into your right knee, then gradually shift weight back to your left leg, keeping it as straight as possible. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat the stretch with your right leg behind you.
Lie down with your back flat on the floor and both knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor, about 6 inches apart. Bend your right knee up to your chest and grab your right thigh with both hands behind your knee. Gradually straighten your right leg, feeling gentle stretching in the back of your leg. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat the stretch with your left leg.
Be kind to your body
Finding time for regular aerobic workouts can be challenging. If you're tempted to skip warming up and cooling down, get creative. If you walk to a fitness facility, use the trip there and back to warm up and cool down. Remember, the time you spend preparing for exercise and cooling down afterward may be as important as the exercise itself. Give your body the time it needs to adjust to the demands of your workout.