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Creating an effective workout plan for yourself is a task that often requires a bit of trial and error. It’s also a process that requires the successful combination of many moving parts, including diet, nutrition, and sleep, as well as the individual exercises themselves. One of these moving parts that often goes overlooked is warming up and cooling down when exercising. Though many people forgo these practices, they’re no less important to a well-rounded workout routine. Incorporating both warm-up and cool-down practices into your fitness plan is the best way to set yourself up for success in the long run and reduce the risk of potential injuries. This guide explores why it’s important to warm up and cool down after exercise and how doing so could improve your performance.
Warming up before you exercise is the best way to set yourself up for success. This practice stimulates blood flow throughout your body and increases your heart rate at a slow and steady pace. These elements prepare your body and muscles for the forthcoming exercises. Warming up your body also reduces the risk of injury, as it ensures your muscles are receiving enough blood and oxygen before you start your exercises. Fatigue and muscle strain can become more severe when your body does not provide enough oxygen to the muscles, and warming up ahead of time prevents this. Warming up is necessary for any type of physical exercise. Bear in mind, however, that the warm-up should reflect and complement the type of workout you will be engaging in. If your workout consists mainly of cardio, for example, it is highly beneficial to begin your warm-up with a few minutes of brisk walking. Warm-up exercises and stretching are most effective when they are dynamic rather than static. Opt for walking lunges and hip rotations over a sustained toe-touch for the best warm-up stretch.
To understand why it’s important to warm up and cool down after exercise, you first need to understand that these practices are two sides of the same coin. Cooling down influences many of the same bodily functions as warming up, but with opposite effects. Whereas warming up seeks to raise your heart rate, cooling down attempts to lower it at a slow and steady rate. Lowering your heart rate incrementally helps ease lung function as you wind down and regain your breath after a particularly strenuous workout. Cooling down also reduces the likelihood of muscle soreness. Lactic acid can build up in the muscles following a workout. Engaging in cool-down exercises and stretches rids your body of this lactic acid more rapidly, allowing it to begin the recovery process sooner.
From warm-up to cool-down to everything in between, American Home Fitness is here to help you along your fitness journey. We have home gym equipment suppliers throughout Michigan and northern Ohio to help you make your fitness goals a reality.