Warm-up and cool-down exercises
Warming up before physical activity has the goal of emotionally and physically preparing you for your chosen action. Warming up your body raises your heart rate and blood flow, allowing more oxygen to reach your muscles. Warming up also activates and primes the connections between your nerves and muscles, allowing you to move more efficiently. Dynamic stretching should also be used to improve your range of motion (flexibility).
How do I warm up before exercise?
Warming up for mild physical activity takes around 10 minutes and includes light aerobic activity as well as some dynamic stretching motions that are appropriate for the activity. This could involve the following:
- fast-paced walking
- walking up and down stairs
- fast-paced side stepping
- jogging on the spot
- arm swings
There is minimal evidence that static stretching reduces your risk of injury during physical activity or exercise, or even pain the next day, contrary to popular belief. Dynamic stretching, though, is still quite popular when used as part of an aerobic warm-up.
How do I cool down after exercise?
Simply lessen the intensity of the activity you’ve been doing – if you’ve been jogging, go for a walk; if you’ve been running, go for a jog; if you’ve been swimming fast, go for a slow swim. This will assist you in gradually lowering your heart rate and starting the recovery process. Stretching each of the major muscle groups for 10–15 seconds helps restore their length and help you return to a restful state of mind and body.