There is no doubt that time spent on warming up and cooling down before and after exercise will improve performance and aid in the recovery process. Anyone who takes part in formal exercise must regard the warm up and cool down routines as an essential part of the training session itself.
Muscle stiffness after exercise, is often thought to be directly related to muscle injury and therefore warm up exercises should be aimed at reducing muscle stiffness.
Warming up should at least consist of the following:
- 5 minutes or so jogging or other aerobic exercise to increase body temperature;
- 10 or so dynamic stretches to help reduce muscle stiffness.
This suggests that stretches and slow controlled movements through the full range of motion are the most appropriate exercises for warming up and includes arm swings, squats and lunges. This kind of exercise is more appropriate to the warm up, as it helps reduce muscle.
It is essential to warm up before and after any exercise routine. Warming up before exercise increases speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles.
It also allows the heart rate get to a workable rate for beginning exercise, increases blood flow and oxygen utilisation by warmed muscles as haemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at higher muscle temperatures and helps up mentally focus on the training.
By contrast to warming up, cooling down should consist of:
- 5 jogging slowly or walking to decrease body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles;
- 5 to 10, minutes static stretching exercises; these are more appropriate to the cool down as they help muscles to relax, realign muscle fibres and re-establish their normal range of movement. These stretches should be held for approximately 10 seconds and includes stretching muscles while stationery.
An appropriate cool down will aid in the dissipation of waste products, including lactic acid, reducing the chance of dizziness or fainting and reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood, allowing the heart rate to return to its resting rate.