Do I need to warm up and cool down?

It’s been a busy day, you’re late and you have a million other things to do. Life is busy, and there is never enough time. We get it, but it’s not an excuse.

It’s easy to find reasons why you can’t squeeze in a proper warm up before starting an exercise session, and why you can’t fit in time to cool down afterwards. No matter what the excuse, neglecting to warm up your body first and cool it down afterwards is never a good thing.

A good warm up tells your body that it will start working soon. Warming up beforehand eases your body into your exercise session and gives it time to wake up.

Warming up has tons of benefits. Among them is the fact that it helps to gradually increase the heart and breathing rate, giving you an increased capacity to perform. The associated increase in blood flow to your working muscles also gives you an increased capacity to work – more oxygen equals more action. 

The older you are the more attention you may have to pay to the warm up.

Your warm up will be shaped by what sort of exercise you will be doing and for how long, but it might start with some gentle exercise and stretches – perhaps some lunges and air squats – to activate the different muscles. Remember to think about your body position too.

The cool down is equally important. The opposite of the warm up, it allows your heart rate and blood pressure to fall gradually.

Cooling down also helps bring your breathing rate back down, allows your muscles to return to their optimal length, and restores your body and its systems to their resting levels.

Your cool down will be dictated by what sort of exercise you did and for how long, but it might include things like walking, foam rolling and stretches. 

If you’re not adequately preparing your body before and after your exercise sessions, try to make time for a warm up and cool down. See how much better you feel.