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Strength training and cardio are important aspects of any well-rounded exercise regimen, but many people skip over the most important parts of an exercise routine: the warm up and the cool down.

Warming Up

Why is it important?

  • Gradually increases body temperature and blood flow to the muscles
  • Prepares muscles, including the heart, for exercise
  • Reduces risk of muscular injury

How should I warm up?

  • Focus on larger muscle groups first, then move to smaller muscles or activity-specific exercises
  • Start at a slower pace and gradually build up your speed and intensity
  • Include dynamic movements to elongate muscles and increase joint range of motion
  • Start with a walk or bike ride and slowly increase your speed for five to ten minutes
  • For stretching, start with a small range of motion and work up to moving a joint in a full range of motion

Cooling Down

Why is it important?

  • Allows the body to safely transition from exercising back to a steady state of rest
  • Gradually reduces heart rate, breathing, and body temperature
  • Helps muscles return to optimal length and prevents pooling of blood to certain extremities, which prevents your blood pressure from dropping too rapidly
  • Helps prevent muscles soreness and reduces risk of injury

How should I cool down?

  • Cooling down should last between five and ten minutes and incorporate tapering off dynamic movements, such as a slow jog moving into a walking pace
  • Use static stretches when cooling down, which involves holding a stretch in a specific position for 15-60 seconds
  • Stretch larger muscle groups first then move into smaller muscle groups
  • Stretches should be held in a challenging but not painful position, while focusing on breathing throughout the stretch

To learn how to incorporate warm ups and cool downs into your workouts, visit the front desk or contact us to ask about fitness instruction.