When it comes to exercise, many of us focus on how much we can lift, how fast we can run, or if our abdominals are as flat as they were in high school. But a crucial part of any workout routine is making sure that you’re warming up before exercising and cooling down afterwards — and for good reason!
If you’re warming up for a run
To warm up for a big run, start with five to ten minutes of easy jogging and light agility exercises. ie: High Knees, Butt Kicks..etc… This should be enough time to raise your heart rate and feel your muscles begin to loosen. Stretching cold muscles can cause injury, so avoid static stretches before you go full speed ahead. Instead, try dynamic stretches like lunges or squats that help to move blood through your body more easily by moving slowly yet purposefully through the range of motion required by each exercise. After these warm-ups, you’ll be ready for a great workout!
If you’re lifting weights
If you’re lifting weights, there are several things you should do:
- Stretch your muscles before training
- Perform light cardio activity to get the blood flowing from your heart and muscles (10-15 minutes)
- Do a dynamic warmup of exercises like lunges, squats, arm circles and jumping jacks (5-10 minutes)
- Perform sets of lighter weights with good form and maybe even with a tempo to prime your body for whatever work you are gearing up to do.
If you simply need a stretch break at work
If you’re not a runner and don’t have the time or inclination to work out before work, there’s no reason why you can’t still get all the benefits of stretching. Simply taking a break from what you’re doing and doing some basic stretches is enough to help keep your body feeling loose and limber throughout the day. It will also help with any tension headaches, which are common among people who spend long hours in front of a computer screen.
Even if you do take time away from your desk to exercise at lunchtime or after work, it’s always helpful to take breaks throughout the day where possible—and stretching is an easy way that anyone can do this without getting up from their seat!
Stretch at work in under 10 minutes!
It’s important to stretch before and after exercising
Stretching is an important part of exercising, but it’s also one of the most misunderstood. There are several reasons why stretching is good for you:
- Stretching before a workout helps to warm up your muscles and prepare them for the activity ahead. This can reduce the risk of injury and increase blood flow to help boost performance.
- Stretching after a workout helps to cool down your muscles as well as soothe muscle soreness (aka delayed-onset muscle soreness). This may seem counterintuitive—if you’re trying to avoid injuries, why would you want to stretch after exercise?—but it’s actually very important because it allows the body time to recover from strenuous exercise while simultaneously protecting against further damage due to prolonged acute inflammation caused by working out without sufficient stretching beforehand.
We hope this article has helped you understand why warming up and cooling down can be so important. You don’t have to do anything special if you’re just running, but if you’re lifting weights or doing any other kind of exercise that involves heavy muscle activity it’s best to warm up beforehand so that your muscles are ready to work. Warming up also helps reduce the risk of injury so don’t skip it!