Warming up and cooling down are actually the segments of a workout that should be its beginning and its end. There is always a question: do you really need warming up and cooling down in your workouts?
Why is that question so frequently asked? Well, there are multiple reasons for such a question. One of those reasons is the fact that nowadays there are so many different approaches to this problem, though mostly about warming up. There are a lot less people questioning cooling down after workouts.
We will speak about the importance of warming up and cooling down in the context of all the physical activities that are now days used to better your fitness, health and looks.
First, we have to know that warming up is not just aimless moving of the certain body parts without any real informations on why are we doing it in the first place, and cooling down is not just a walk to the locker room and in the shower or a drive to the pub for a drink after the workout. Things are far more complex and more demanding than that.
Over the years there were many studies on the subject of warming up. The results that were gained were very different in so many things, so there are so many disagreements about the intensity and the very necessity of warming up.
Warming Up Is Important
To solve all the dilemmas at the beginning, we will tell you this warming up is an important part of the workout and it has numerous proven benefits for you and a very few negative effects, and that only for some specific segments of warm ups.
Warm ups can’t be substituted with any other activity. It is confirmed that warming up has the best effects when it comes to strength training, durability training and elasticity while in other activities it has more good than bad effects.
Benefits Of Warming Up And Cooling Down
Here are a few very important benefits of warming up and cooling down. If our warm up includes large muscle groups, we will minimize the chance of cardiac ischemia.
Cardiac ischemia can occur if you start exercising abruptly, then blood from the internal organs can’t go back to the muscles so they can push it towards the heart, so in that one moment neither muscles nor heart have enough of blood to function normally.
In this situation, heart rate increases to the level where relaxation phase becomes too brief. Since that is the phase in which heart manages to get some blood it becomes impossible for the heart to receive it, as the matter of fact the heart is working at max intensity without any fuel which in the most benign case leads to cardiac arrest and can even lead to death outcome.
The people who are at most risk from this are people who never exercised before or done it very rarely, elderly and those people that like to go over the top with their workouts and exceed their possibilities.
Very similar thing can happen if you end the workout abruptly. In that case heart continues to pump out the same amount of blood it pumped out while we were exercising, but the muscles that we stopped abruptly can not help to get all that blood go back to it fast enough.
Because of that heart does not have enough blood rich in oxygen to send to the brain so we get dizzy and it can also have much worse outcome.
The only way to avoid all this is an adequate cooling of the body after the workout. By adequate cooling we mean doing the exercises of lower intensity than those we have done in the main part of the workout and then continue with even lower intensity and end with some stretching. This is the best and the safest way to end your workouts.
There are plenty of positive effects and necessary reasons for warming up and cooling down in your workouts, and not only because of the cardiovascular system but also because of the nervous system.
Types Of Warm Up
Since we are now familiar with the basic informations about warm up what is left is to tell you something about the types of warm up. Warm up can be passive (without physical activity like massage or a warm bath) or active (physical activity).
Combined approach gives the best results so we will tell you more about that. At the beginning, you need to diversify physical activity by their intensity. According to that, you should plan your warm up.
Since there is a lot of different exercises there should be a lot of different types of warm up. Warm up itself has its general part that is in basis similar in all warm ups.
However, the specific part of warm up must be in accordance with the main activity in your workout. This means that during the warm up next to self massage, joint rotation, cardio warm up strength exercises and adequate stretching, you need to have one part that is a specific kind of warm up.
Self massage will help us raise the body temperature gradually. Joint rotation will help us get maximum joint mobility. Cardio warm up will raise our body temperature and get the general state of cardiovascular system to optimum.
Strength exercises during warm up will help us get better results in the activities of that kind, while in the end the specific kind of warm up will prepare us to have a quality workout with those specific exercises and muscle groups.
Since we already made sure that it is necessary doing warm up and cool down in our workouts all we have to do is this:
1) Warm up should on average and depending on the following activity last between 5 and 40 minutes.
2) The longevity of the warm up depends on what you decide, what matters is that you are not tired after it and that your body temperature raised for 1 degree celsius.
3) Warm up lasts longer during the strength and speed training then during the durability training and also warm up should last longer for more experienced athletes than for beginners
4) Warm up should have general and specific part both adapted to the following training activity during the workout
5) Warm up should consist of self massage, preparation of joints, cardio warm up, strength exercises, adequate stretching, and each part of it should be in accordance to the main activity of the workout
6) Cooling down must last for at least 15 minutes
7) Cooling down represents the first step in the entire recovery after the workout
8) Same as warm up cooling down has to have a specific segment that you should do straight after the workout and after that what you should not skip is static stretching
9) Increased blood flow after workout is the most important part of cooling down and you will achieve it by doing simple aerobic activities such as light runs from 3 to 5 mins
10) Stretching that last from 10 to 15 minutes in cooling down can be also mixed with massage
According to everything we have said so far warm up and cool down is necessary during the workouts. We hope that you will manage to find some useful informations in our post and use them during your next workout.