Warming up and cooling down are actually the segments of a workout that should be its beginning and end. However, 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 that nowadays, there are so many different approaches to this problem, though mostly about warming up. There are a lot fewer 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 nowadays used to better your fitness, health, and looks.
First, we have to know that warming up is not just aimless moving of certain body parts without any real pieces of information 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 necessity of warming up.
Warming Up Is Important
To solve all the dilemmas initially, we will tell you that warming up is an important part of the workout. 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 on 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 significant 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. The blood from the internal organs can’t go back to the muscles to push it towards the heart, so in that one moment, neither muscles nor heart has enough blood to function normally.
In this situation, heart rate increases to the level where the relaxation phase becomes too brief. Since that is the phase in which the heart manages to get some blood, it becomes impossible for the heart to receive it; as a 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 risks from this are people who never exercised before or done it very rarely, the elderly, and those who like to go over the top with their workouts and exceed their possibilities.
A very similar thing can happen if you end the workout abruptly. In that case, the heart continues to pump out the same amount of blood is pumped out while we were exercising, but the muscles we stopped abruptly can not help get all that blood to go back to it fast enough.
Because of that, the heart does not have enough blood rich in oxygen to send to the brain, we get dizzy, and it can also have a 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 lower intensity exercises 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, not only because of the cardiovascular system but also because of the nervous system.
Types Of Warm-Ups
Since we are now familiar with the basic information about warm-ups, what is left is to tell you something about the types of warm-ups. Warm-ups can be passive (without physical activity like massage or a warm bath) or active (physical activity).
The combined approach gives the best results, so that we will tell you more about that. In the beginning, you need to diversify physical activity by its intensity. According to that, you should plan your warm-up.
Since there are many different exercises, there should be a lot of different types of warm-ups. Warm-ups themselves have their general part that is in basis similar in all warm-ups.
However, the specific part of a 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-ups will raise our body temperature and get the cardiovascular system’s general state to the optimum.
Strength exercises during warm-up will help us get better results in activities of that kind. 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 to do warm-ups and cool-downs 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 warm-up’s longevity depends on what you decide; what matters is that you are not tired after it and that your body temperature is raised by 1-degree celsius.
3) Warm-up lasts longer during the strength and speed training than during the durability training, and also warm-ups 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 with 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-ups 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 a 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 lasts from 10 to 15 minutes in cooling down can also be mixed with massage
According to everything we have said so far, warm-ups and cool-downs are necessary during the workouts. We hope you will manage to find some useful information in our post and use them during your next workout.