The Importance of Warming Up and Cooling Down

Warming up and cooling down is fundamental in any workout. Sadly, many people neglect the importance of these two and immediately start their workouts. There are some who warm up but don’t cool down and there are others who do the opposite. To highlight the importance of these two components more, here are the reasons why you should warm up before and exercise and cool down after.

Why Warm Up?

To increase blood flow

Warming up allows your heart to pump out more blood and improve blood circulation all throughout the body. This encourages blood to flow more effectively towards muscle tissues and gets the muscles ready for any kind of physical activity. In addition, warming up allows oxygenated blood to flow all throughout the body better and helps increase body temperature so that the muscles can adjust to the intensity of the workout easily.

To prepare the heart

Warming up not only lets your heart pump out more blood efficiently, it also prepares the heart to meet the demands on the circulatory system made by physical exercise. When you go from zero to a hundred without having a warm-up, your heart might not be able to efficiently pump out enough blood. Without enough blood circulating around the body, the muscles will also be deprived of energy and fuel. The heart might also have difficulty to adjust to sudden rigorous exercise and that might definitely lead to a dangerous situation for the person.

To prevent injury

Injury prevention is probably one of the most important reasons why you need to warm up. As said earlier, warming up increases your body temperature. This means that your muscles can easily stretch and contract without any risk of injury. Surely, there are some of you who have made the mistake of going to an ActiveSG gym and immediately hit the dumbbell racks only to find that you’re not able to push your muscles to their full potential.

Why Cool Down?

To gradually lower heart rate

Exercising clearly makes your heart beat substantially faster. Having time to cool down allows your heart rate to lower little by little. This is important because when you stop suddenly and your heart rate is still high, you might feel dizzy and you may even faint. So cooling down helps our body regain balance in terms of temperature and heart rate.

To reduce muscle soreness

You typically incorporate a lot of static stretching when cooling down. This is possible in a cool-down and not in a warm-up because your joints and muscles are already warm. When you stretch, you’re helping the muscles flush out any excess waste that would otherwise cause cramping and stiffness if they stayed there. This reduces the likelihood of a muscle getting sore after a workout and also improve muscle flexibility in the long run. 

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