The importance of a warm up/cool down!
You may have heard it a million times before, but do you actually know why warming up and cooling down before and after exercising is so important?
A great example of why warming up is so important comes in the form of an elastic band...
...That's right, hear me out!
Think of your muscles as an elastic band for a second!
If we put an elastic band in the freezer for a few hours, come back to it and try to pull on it, the chances of that band snapping (and hitting you in the face) are extremely high right? Now, think of an elastic band that isn't cold, flexible right? You can stretch this for hours and it never break, this is how your muscles react when warm!
A warm up also activates and primes the connections between your nerve and muscles, thus improving the efficiency of movement, additionally, your range of motion (flexibility) should be increased by dynamic stretching. So. How exactly should you warm up?
Warming up should take around 5-10 minutes, focussing on both increasing your heat rate, allowing more oxygen rich blood to reach your muscles, and stretching- Specifically the areas you are about to train.
This could include things such as:
Great! What about cooling down?
By now, your heart rate may be through the roof, it's now time to bring that back down again. This could be by reducing the intensity of what you are doing or going onto something that requires less effort, therefore bringing your heart rate down again. Cooling down is another opportunity to get your stretches in, at this time holding a stretch for roughly 10-15 seconds will restore the length of each muscle and help bring your mind and body down to a resting state.