So, I've been reading up on warm ups and cool downs and thought I'd share what I've started doing with you guys as I'm sure there are at least a few people reading who don't warm up properly either.
The Warm Up Session
A warm up should consist of a few minutes of stretching to warm up and stretch out your muscles, followed by some low impact aerobic exercises to increase your heart rate. A warm up should last anywhere between 5-15 minutes depending on how intense your work out will be.
The benefits of doing a warm up include:
Personally, for my warm up, I've been doing most of the stretches shown in this video and then following that with a 5 minute walk at a medium-to-high pace or some low-impact cycling at the gym. If I'm using weights I always start off with lower weights for the first few sets and then gradually build up to the highest weight I can manage.
The Cooling Down Session
Cooling down does exactly what it says on the tin - it cools your body down to the state it was in before exercising. Cooling down is said to be done in three different stages - gentle exercise, stretches and refuelling.
The benefits of cooling down include:
My two main forms of exercise - gym and running - both mean that my work out session ends with cardio so what I do to cool down is just gradually slow down whatever I'm doing. If I'm running, I slow down to a jog and then gradually slow down to a walking pace and walk for 5-10 minutes. If I'm at the gym I'll cycle/run/row slower and gradually reduce the resistance until I come to a stop. Afterwards I do some more stretches, as shown in the video linked above. I make sure to drink lots of water to rehydrate following my exercise. It's also recommended to eat a light snack/meal containing carbs and protein within 45 minutes of working out - I'd usually just eat some nuts and seeds or a fruit salad.
Now I need to point out that I am definitely not qualified in any of what I've wrote here - it's just what I've read throughout some research, so what I've said may not be 100% correct or even the best way to warm up and cool down, but it has been helping me. I don't seem to be quite as sore after work outs, and I've never had a work out related injury.
Do you always warm up and cool down, or are you the same I was and skip it? What do you do as your warm up/cool down routine?