Why is warmup and cooldown so important?

Warming up and Cooling down is really important both pre and post workout for many reasons. Starting with the benefits and importance of warming up ACE states:

  • Increases the degradation of oxyhemoglobin
    Breaking down the chemical complex of oxygen and hemoglobin results in the release of oxygen from the blood, enhancing the delivery of oxygen to the exercising muscles
  • Increases body temperature
    The elevation in body temperature produced by warming up reduces the potential for skeletal muscle injuries and connective injuries, since cold muscle and tendons have been shown to be more susceptible to injury.
  • Increases blood flow to the exercising muscles 
    The greater level of blood reaching the muscles involved in the activity aids in the delivery of the fuels (e.g., glucose and free fatty acids) required for energy production.
  • Increases blood flow to the heart
    A greater level of blood delivered to the heart reduces the potential for exercise-induced cardiac abnormalities (e.g., electrocardiographic disturbances), reducing the potential for myocardial ischemia.
  • Decreases the viscosity of the muscle
    Reduced muscle viscosity increases the suppleness of the muscle, thereby enhancing the mechanical efficiency and power of the exercising muscles.
  • Causes an early onset of sweating
    The earlier onset of sweating promotes evaporative heat loss and, as a result, decreases the amount of heat stored by the body. This will help to prevent an individual’s body temperature from rising to dangerously high levels during (more strenuous) exercise.
  • Enhances the speed of transmission of nerve impulses
    As nerve impulses are conducted at a faster rate, neuromuscular coordination tends to improve, resulting in better performance of certain motor tasks.
  • Increases the blood saturation of muscles and connective tissues
    A higher level of blood reaching the muscles, tendons, and ligaments involved in the activity increases the elasticity of these tissues, resulting in a safer, more effective performance of stretching exercises.
  • Prepares the cardiovascular system for the upcoming (more strenuous) physical activity
    Warming up helps to ensure that the cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels) is given time to adjust to the body’s increased demands for blood and oxygen.
  • Prepares the muscular system for the upcoming (more strenuous) physical activity 
    Warming up provides a transition from rest to strenuous exercise, and may reduce the likelihood that excessive muscular soreness will be a concomitant result of strenuous activity.

As you can see there are so many reasons why we need to warm up our bodies and prepare us for working out, to keep us from getting injured and to get get oxygen to our blood, muscles, and heart. So we have seen the importance of warming up by why the importace of cooling down? Cooling down has many benefits as well and is just as important as warming up, yet for many different reasons.

  • It allows your heart rate and blood pressure to return to normal.
  • It helps pump out waste and toxins out of your body
  • It brings your body back to homeostasis
  • By stretching, foam rolling, and properly cooling down you reduce the risk of injury and muscle soreness
  • You reduce the feeling of fatigue allowing you to workout sooner
  • By taking the time to focus on a cool down, unwind, stretch, breath, psychologically you will be able to relax and be prepared to go about the rest of your day
  • It starts your body on the repair process after the strenuous workout of breaking down the muscles.
Cooling down will aid in faster recovery times, bringing us back to that pre exercise state. During our workouts, we put our body under a lot of stress, damaging muscle fibers, tendons ligaments and build up waste in our bodies. To start our repair process we need to take the time to cool down.

As you can see there are many reasons to warming up and cooling down before and after your workouts. Depending on the type of exercise you are doing and what time of day you are doing your warmups and cool downs may need to be longer. However they should be specific to what you are doing to prepare your body for the work that is being done. If you want to feel your best and reduce your chance of injury I suggest doing a proper warmup and cool down. For more questions or to schedule an appointment contact me at Katrina@TrueFitnessByKatrina.com

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