Importance of warmup before and cool down after gym
The effects of exercise on the body play a huge role to allow for the healthy functioning of our different biological systems. However, exercising also creates a higher risk of injury if your body is not prepared for the heavy type of exercise. Warm-up and cool-down for physical activity are crucial to prepare the body for workout and to gradually return to a natural, resting state after workout respectively.
Warm-up usually happens before we begin exercising with the intention of preparing our body for the physical activity we are about to complete. Warms up are usually exercise dependents. We start with a moderate aerobic activity as it prepares the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. It increases our body temp and increases blood flow and oxygen levels in our body. This happens due to our heart pumping nutrient-rich, oxygenated blood to our muscles and results in the speeding up of our heart rate and breathing. This results in metabolic activity to improve the muscle’s readiness to start working and contract. The main focus of warm-up is cardio generally but one can do a different one too provided it consists of some low-intensity aerobic exercise, stretching, and activity-specific drills. Finally, completing exercise-specific warm-up exercises will activate neural pathways to increase your reaction time and communication between the muscles and nerves. They also help in stimulating your motor patterns which we need for our exercise for coordination. Throw in some dynamic stretches to your warm-up as it will further assist muscle flexibility. A dynamic warm-up is a newer and more efficient way to warm up over static stretching as it has increased range of motion and blood flow thereby reducing injury risks. Leg swings against the wall, long, quick stretching movements, hops, skips, and calf raises are some of the exercises that are part of this warmup. A warm-up may last 10 to 20 minutes depending on your exercise type, intensity, age, etc. to adequately prepare the body for exercise. They usually develop over time ranging from person to person and even day-to-day. However, even for the most basic of exercises warm-up is an absolute must, and skipping it is not an option.
Cooling down is just as important as warming up prior to exercise but it is merely neglected by people after finishing a workout and one tends to just switch to a different task. After your workout, it is a must to at least spend 5 to 10 minutes cooling down through a sequence of slow movements as this helps prevent muscle cramps and dizziness while gradually slowing your heart rate and breathing. It in essence does the opposite of warming up by allowing our body to return to a natural resting state. Cooldown is all about lowering the body temperature and bringing the heart rate back to normal and continue to aid oxygen delivery to the muscles for faster recovery. This will assist our body in getting rid of lactic acid and other chemicals built up in our muscles throughout the exercise, thereby reducing the risk of cramps or delayed onset muscle soreness. A cool-down normally includes light to moderate aerobic activity and mainly focuses on static stretching. An active cool-down transitioning into a passive cool-down is the most effective to reduce muscle soreness, improve muscle recovery, and allow for the body to recycle chemical bi-products in the body from the previous physical activity. It also helps with glycogen re-synthesis which in turn allows for the body to replenish the energy supply which was used up in exercise. However, this muscle can be also be supplemented with an intake of carbohydrates after exercise which is generally 0.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight, or as people prefer today protein shakes. Like warming up, cooling down is of utmost importance to not only reduce injuries but also to keep you fit for the next day of exercising.