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You’d be surprised how many people decide they don’t need to warm up before working out, or that it’s fine to skip their cool-down after a gym session. Most of the time, it’s not because people hate warming up or cooling down, but because they want to save time. It’s just the main part of the workout that counts though, right? 

Why warming up and cooling down is so important 

A warm-up and a cool-down both involve doing exercises at a lower intensity and slower pace, which improves your athletic performance, prevents injuries, and helps with recovery. 
Warm-up activities include light cardio, such as a speed walk, mild jog, or cycling slowly on a bike. Warming up before exercise prepares your cardiovascular system for physical activity by increasing the blood flow to your muscles and raising the temperature of your body. It also helps to lower the risk of getting injured as when your muscles are properly warmed up, the strain you put on them during your workout is less severe. This also reduces muscle soreness. 
A cool down after your workout is important to gradually bring your heart rate and blood pressure to their normal level, aka, what it was before working out. When you exercise, your heart rate pumps much higher than it normally does, and it’s important to ease it back down instead of suddenly stopping all motion. 
Cooling down also helps to regulate your blood flow, which is especially important for people who undertake endurance sports such as long-distance running. To cool down safely, gradually reduce the pace of your exercise during the last 10 minutes of your session. For example, if you’re jogging, reduce your pace to a brisk walk for the last 10 minutes. 

Ways to warm up 

Heart raiser: 

Hop onto a cardio machine and raise your heart rate gradually or do a functional full-body warm-up such as star jumps, high knees, mountain climbers, or squats with 20-30 seconds time limits. 

Dynamic stretches: 

These include repetitively moving your arms and joints in their fullest range of motion to increase circulation and elasticity. 
You can do this through: 
• Arm rotations. 
• Shoulder rotations. 
• Hip rotations. 
• Knee rotations. 
• Ankle-wrist rotations. 
• Neck rotations. 
• Walking lunges 
• Bodyweight squats 
These are excellent for preparing the body for the workout. 


Lower body: 
It’s important to activate any major muscle groups which take the most impact during the workout. This could include: 
• Glute bridges. 
• Lying down leg extensions. 
• Hamstring bridges, 
Upper body: 
• Wall angels. 
• Side-lying Thoracic spine rotation with arm reach (chest, back, shoulder). 
• Rotator cuff external rotations 
• Banded reverse rows, 
• Even basic press-ups would activate the upper body muscles. 

Methods of cooling down 

Types of stretching (depending on your flexibility goal this will vary): 
• Ballistic stretching. 
• Dynamic stretching. 
• Active stretching. 
• Passive (or relaxed) stretching. 
• Static stretching. 
• Isometric stretching. 
• PNF stretching. 

Foam rolling 

A foam roller is a lightweight, cylindrical tube of compressed foam. It can be used for many reasons, including increasing flexibility, reducing muscle soreness, and eliminating muscle knots. Foam rolling is a method of self-myofascial release which is similar to giving yourself a Deep Tissue Sports Massage. (No, it’s not as relaxing or enjoyable!) 
Always ensure to foam roll after you’ve completed your static stretches and not before. You can also use tennis balls for doing active release. It’s an excellent way to aid muscle recovery, although some find it a bit uncomfortable. 
Feeling sore? Book a massage and we’ll get you feeling relaxed and healthier in no time. 
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