If you’ve ever worked out in a group setting you are likely familiar with the instructor leading you through both a warmup and cool down. Maybe you enjoy the time spent walking and stretching out your muscles. Or maybe you would rather get right to your workout or just get back to the rest of your day as quickly as possible. For some people, warming and cooling down can feel tedious. But it is an important part of any workout routine.
Warming up and cooling down not only helps you feel good while working out, but it also can aid in preventing injuries. In this article we will help you understand why warming up and cooling down can help prevent an injury as well as give you actionable tips for incorporating it into your routine. If the best MMA coaches in Toronto are doing it, you should be too. Keep reading to find out why.
Why Should I Warm Up?
Warmups are essentially a mini workout that helps to wake up your body before a more intensive workout. Though not everyone does the exact same warmup before a workout all warmups are used to both improve your performance and prevent injuries. Global Sports Development lists a variety of benefits of conducting a warm up including joint efficiency and removal of lactic acid. But how does warming up prevent injury?
Though research on the topic does not definitively answer the question with a yes or no, it doesn’t say that it is a bad idea either. Some people swear that a warmup sets them up for success and ensures that they are ready to move their bodies through strenuous tasks post warmup. Others feel that they can skip it and do just fine. Most people can likely benefit from conducting a short warmup that both increases their heart rate and allows more blood to flow to the muscles.
Warming up should raise your heartrate but it shouldn’t tire you out. Consider developing a simple workout plan that will target both the areas of the body you will be focusing your workout on. Though there is no right or wrong way to warm up you should avoid stretching at this point in your workout. See Our examples to help you develop an efficient warmup for you.
Combine the following movements to help raise your heartrate. Do a variety of movements in order to warm up the areas of the body you are looking to workout the most. Remember that your warmup doesn’t have to take long and shouldn’t burn you out. Do any combination of these movements for approximately 5 minutes as a good way to get started.
- Jogging – either take it to a track or run on the spot.
- High Knees – get your heartrate up while also engaging the legs.
- Jumping Jacks – engage your upper and lower body while raising your heart rate.
- Sumo Squats – gets your legs warmed up quickly.
- Arm circles – feel a quick burn in the arms.
- Push ups – can help wake up your upper body and core.
Though it can be tempting to skip a warm up it will likely do good for your body. By completing a quick warmup, you set yourself up to both feel and perform the best you can.
Why Should I Cool Down?
After finishing a great workout, you might be ready to hit the showers the second you are complete. Though that likely sounds like a good idea there are many reasons why you might want to reconsider adding a cooldown to your routine. Unlike a warm up a cooldown is used to bring your heart rate down gradually. It also gives you an opportunity to stretch your muscles while they are warm and help reduce the chance of injuring yourself during a stretch.
But how does a cool down prevent injury? In relation to the workout you just completed, it doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do one. What a cooldown does do is help aid in your post workout recovery. As a secondary mechanism of injury prevention cooling down may help you avoid injury while stretching. Some of the benefits of cooling down include;
- Reduce dizziness
- Allow for a gradual heart rate reduction.
- Regulate blood flow.
- Relax muscles
- Returns the body to its pre workout state
A cooldown is most critical after high intensity workouts such as HITT sessions or long-distance running. But that doesn’t mean you should skip it if you did something more low impact. Making a cooldown part of your routine will help for a habit that ensures you complete one when your body needs it the most.
How Can I Cool Down?
Cooling down doesn’t have to be complicated. Remember that cooling down just means that you gradually ease yourself out of your high intensity workout to return to your regular day. If you are doing something at high intensity, such as running fast, simply slow it down gradually. Incorporate stretching or a lower intensity core workout while bringing down your heart rate.
No matter what you are doing, just be mindful to take it easy and allow your body to transition out of movement slowly. There is no need to develop a plan for your cooldown. Instead, do something that feels good and relaxes your muscles while slowing down the pace of your workout.
Where Can I Learn More?
If you are beginning to workout and don’t know where to turn for help, consider reaching out to a personal trainer. A qualified trainer can help you to develop a workout plan that suits your weight loss or athletic goals while keeping you safe from injury.Injury prevention goes far beyond warming up and cooling down. Proper form and knowing the right exercise to do for you body can make all the difference. See our previous article “What Makes a Good Personal Trainer” for help in knowing what to look for in a personal trainer. The right support system can make all the difference in meeting achieving your goals. Grant’s MMA is here to help you meet your potential.