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5 Little Known Benefits of Warming Up & Cooling Down After Exercising


While working out in the gym, I have noticed that many exerciserstend to skip two very important parts of their workout. It iscrucial that exercisers starts with a warm-up and ends with acool-down. As a fitness educator, I educate my clients of whythey should include warm-ups and cool-downs in their workouts.

Warm up before vigorous exercise is crucial. Warm-up preparesthe heart muscle and circulatory system. When you start physicalactivity, blood flow is not immediately available to the heartand muscles. A proper warm-up decreases the risk of irregularheartbeats associated with poor coronary circulation. A properwarm-up also improve performance, since it minimizes thepremature formation of lactic acid at the start of physicalactivity. In addition, warming up raises the temperature of thebody. For each degree of temperature elevation, the metabolicrate of the cells increases by about 13 percent.

Another reason is warming up helps prevents injuries. Muscleelasticity and the flexibility of the tendons and ligaments areincreased. Synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints, isreleased during easy activity. In general, warm up prepares thebody for the increased demand of intense exercise.

Warm-ups activities are movement activities. Stretching is not awarm-up exercise because it does not raise the body temperature. In fact, an exerciser can tear cold muscles by stretching them.

General warm-up involves calisthenics, stretching, and generalbody movements such as slow jog followed by a light streth.Warmup for about 5-10 minutes depending on the person's fitness levelfollowed by some light stretching.

Specific warm-up, on the other hand, provides a skill rehearsalfor the actual activity. Swinging a golf club, throwing abaseball or football are examples of specific warm-up.

I have been working out in a health club setting for almost 10years. In my experience, I hardly seen anyone do a cool-downactivity. Cool down is also as important as a warm-up. After aheavy work-out, it is important to spend 5-10 minutes in a cooldown stage. A cool down after the workout is important topromote an effective recovery from physical activity. Some ofthe benefits of a cool down are listed below:

1. The opposite of a warm-up. Respiration, body temperature,andheart rate are gradually returned to normal, preventing anirregular beat the may be life threatening.

2. During the cool-down stage, the legs help return the blood toyour heart. Muscle in the legs acts as a pump to bring bloodback to the heart. Suddenly stopping cardiovascular activitycauses blood to pool in the legs instead of circulating to thebrain. Not enough supply of blood in the brain can causedizziness or light-headedness.

4. Cool-down can help increase a person's flexibility.

5. Active cool-down also speeds lactate removal from the blood.

There are two parts of a cool-down. First, a person does a lightcardiovascular activity such as walking to lower the heart rate,body temperature, etc. Then, static stretching should befollowed. Exercisers should stretch all the major muscle groupsfor at least 10-30 seconds. The stretch should feel a slightdiscomfort but not feel pain. Stretching at the end of thecool-down can help increase flexibility without causing injury.

Add a warm-up and cool-down to your current exercise regimen andsee the difference.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.

Emily Clark is editor at Lifestyle Health News and Medical Health News where you can find the most up-to-date advice and information on many medical, health and lifestyle topics.


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