Warming up before a workout and cooling down after is good for you and your heart. Plus you can earn extra points during week 5 of the Fitness Challenge. Each day that you do a 5-10 minute warm up and cool down you can earn an extra point.
Before you exercise, think about warming up your muscles like you would warm up your car. It increases the temperature and flexibility of your muscles, and helps you be more efficient and safer during your workout. A warm-up before aerobic activity allows for a gradual increase in heart rate and breathing at the start of the activity.
Tips to Warm Up:
- Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes.
- A simple warm up could be to do whatever activity you plan on doing (running, walking, cycling, etc.) at a slower pace (jog, walk slowly).
- Use your entire body. For many people, walking slow and doing some jumping jacks or push-ups will suffice.
Cooling down after a workout is important too. After physical activity, your heart is still beating faster than normal, your body temperature is higher and your blood vessels are dilated. A cool-down after physical activity allows for a gradual decrease in your heart rate and body temperature.
It is also good to stretch when you are cooling down because your limbs, muscles and joints are still warm. Stretching can help reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which can lead to muscles cramping and stiffness.
Tips to Cool Down:
- Walk for 5 minutes, or until your heart rate gets below 120 beats per minute.
- Stretch your muscles. Follow these guidelines when stretching:
- Hold each stretch 10 to 30 seconds. If you feel you need more, stretch the other side and return for another set of stretching.
- The stretch should be strong, but not painful.
- Do not bounce.
- Breathe while you’re stretching. Exhale as you stretch, inhale while holding the stretch.