Health and Fitness

Fitness: Importance of warm-up & cool down; benefits, tips revealed

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In the fitness world, it’s already proven that spending time in warming up and in cooling down before and after training, competition or tournament, and other strenuous activities will be a great help in increasing the level of performance of a person and it can accelerate the recovering process. It can also lessen the possibilities of having injuries.

“Warming up and cooling down are good for your exercise performance”  according to Dr. Richard Stein, professor of cardiology in the Department of Medicine at New York University and co-director of Cardiology Consult Services. “You’ll do better, faster, stronger — and for your heart since the increased work on the heart ‘steps up’ with exercise.” He added.

Here are the important tips and the benefits in warming up and cooling down.

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The warm-up is the preparation routine of a person or a team before any strenuous activity. This supports the person in his physical, mental and psychological aspect before doing the activity, reducing the chance of having injuries in the body.

Warm-up activity should consist of pulse raiser such as walking, and jogging, dynamic stretches and sports specific exercises that will prepare for the activity.

According to the BrianMac, the benefits of warming-up are:

  • It can increase speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles
  • Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness
  • Greater economy of movement because of lowered viscous resistance within warmed muscles
  • It can facilitate oxygen utilization by warmed muscles because hemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at higher muscle temperatures
  • It can facilitate nerve transmission and muscle metabolism at higher temperatures; a specific warm up can facilitate motor unit recruitment required in subsequent all out activity
  • Increased blood flow through active tissues as local vascular beds dilate, increasing metabolism and muscle temperatures
  • Allows the heart rate get to a workable rate for beginning exercise
  • Mentally focused on the training or competition

Here are some tips before warming up:

  • Warm-up for 5 to 10 minutes. The more extreme the activity, the longer the warm-up it should be.
  • Use comfortable clothes and shoes.
  • Warm-up your entire body. Make sure to avoid injuries while stretching.
  • If you have health problems, add little precautions before warming up and consult your doctor before engaging in any strenuous activity.

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Cool down is as important as warming up. It is the stage wherein you cool down your body after any strenuous activity. The purpose is to lower the intensity of the aerobic session and to return the body to a state of rest.

Cooling down should consist of a moderate jog, decreasing it speed down to a walk followed by light static stretching.

Some of the important benefits of cooling down are:

  • In can help in the dissipation of waste products – including lactic acid
  • It reduces the potential of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which tends to occur after doing strenuous activities.
  • Reduce the chances of dizziness or fainting caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities
  • Reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood
  • Allows the heart rate to return to its resting rate

Here are some of the important cooling down tips:

  • Walk for about 5 minutes, or until your heart rate gets below 120 beats per minute.
  • Stretching:

-Hold each stretch 10 to 30 seconds. If you feel you need more, stretch the other side and return for another set of stretching.

-The stretch should be strong, but not painful.

-Breathe while you’re stretching. Exhale as you stretch, inhale while holding the stretch.

Fitness experts encourage everyone to warm-up and cool-down before and after any strenuous activities such as workout, training, competition, etc. These two activities will add safety to your body.

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