why do we need to warm up and cool down

WARM UP It is very important to warm
up the body before exercising. This aids the performer in preparing
physiologically and psychologically for exercise, reducing the chance of joint
and muscle injury. Warm up exercises prepare
the body for exercising by increasing the blood flow to the muscles allowing
them to loosen up, which can raise the flow of oxygen to the muscle cells. Doing this gradually increases the body's temperature. This then increases the
speed and force of muscular contractions, because nerve impulses travel faster
at higher body temperatures, and muscles become less stiff or more pliable. They also help to gradually
increase the heart rate and ensure that the demand made on the circulatory and
metabolic systems is gradual as well. In a safe and gradual way they allow
blood to be diverted away from other parts of the body such as the digestive
system to the muscles being exercised. This initial part of your exercise
session helps to improve neural function and co-ordination, protect major
joints as it takes time to increase the supply of lubricating synovial fluid
and to thicken the articular cartilages the body s shock absorbers.

The warm up's intensity
should cause perspiration but not cause fatigue. The type of warm up needs to
be appropriate for the activity planned. It also needs to be appropriate to
the age range and fitness level of the participants, usually lasting for 5-10
minutes in duration. So in warming up thoroughly,
we are preparing the body and the mind for the more energetic demands to come. COOL DOWN The cool down period of an exercise session is just as important as the warm
up. The aim is to decrease the intensity of the aerobic session and to return
the body to a state of rest. preventing blood pooling, returning the blood back to the heart rather than
allowing it to pool in the muscles that have been worked
bringing the heart rate back down, gradually Once you have completed the main component of your session you can then focus on the cooling down phase. The key here is gradual. Use the first 3-5 minutes by walking, or jogging if you have been running, which will bring your breathing under control and back to normal. Once your heart rate has returned back to a state of rest you can then follow this with some stretching. Stretching the muscle groups you used in your workout will return them to their normal length, reduce the delayed onset of muscular soreness, aid recovery and assist your body in its repair process.

Don t forget to include some deep breathing as this will help to oxygenate your system. Stretching also makes many people feel better during and after exercise and in some people decreases muscle pain and stiffness. When done properly, stretching activities increase flexibility. So what s the big deal? A good warm-up before a workout dilates your blood vessels, ensuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen. It also raises your muscles temperature for optimal flexibility and efficiency. By slowly raising your heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart. Warming up before any workout or sport is critical for preventing injury and prepping your body, said Johnny Lee, M. D. , director of the Asian Heart Initiative at the New York University Langone Medical Center and president of New York Heart Associates in New York City. Stretching allows for greater range of motion and eases the stress on the joints and tendons, which could potentially prevent injury.

Warming up, such as low-heart rate cardio, prepares the circulatory and respiratory system for the upcoming age- and type-appropriate target heart rate exercising, whether it s endurance or sprint type of activities. The cool-down is just as critical. It keeps the blood flowing throughout the body. Stopping suddenly can cause light-headedness because your heart rate and blood pressure drop rapidly. Before you exercise, think about warming up your muscles like you would warm up your car. It increases the temperature and flexibility of your muscles, and helps you be more efficient and safer during your workout. A warm-up before moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity allows a gradual increase in heart rate and breathing at the start of the activity. Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes. The more intense the activity, the longer the warm-up. Do whatever activity you plan on doing (running, walking, cycling, etc. ) at a slower pace (jog, walk slowly). Use your entire body. For many people, walking on a treadmill and doing some modified bent-knee push-ups will suffice. Cooling down after a workout is as important as warming up.

After physical activity, your heart is still beating faster than normal, your body temperature is higher and your blood vessels are dilated. This means if you stop too fast, you could pass out or feel sick. A cool-down after physical activity allows a gradual decrease at the end of the episode. It s good to stretch when you re cooling down because your limbs, muscles and joints are still warm. Stretching can help reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which can lead to muscles cramping and stiffness. Walk for about 5 minutes, or until your heart rate gets below 120 beats per minute. 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. Do not bounce. Breathe while you re stretching. Exhale as you stretch, inhale while holding the stretch. So do your body a favor. Take time to gradually progress into your workout and cool down when you re done being physically active. This content was last reviewed on 09/2014. Copyright б 2018 American Heart Association, Healthy For Good, heart. org/healthyforgood

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