(CARLSBAD, CA) – The clock is ticking. You only have 30 minutes to squeeze in your workout, then race back to your desk job. Who has time for a warm-up and cool down? If you’re wise, you’ll make time!
The first and last five minutes of your workout are probably the most important. That’s because a proper warm-up and cool down are fundamentals for a healthy and safe fitness regimen.
Warming up provides a slow dilation of blood vessels that circulate to your heart and skeletal muscles. This creates sufficient blood flow and reduces the risk of blood pressure spikes. Additionally, a proper warm-up gradually increases your body temperature. Combine this body warmth with the increased blood flow delivering oxygen to your muscles, and you’re less likely to tear a muscle.
Still not convinced to add a warm-up to your fitness routine? Consider recent research by University of California at Irvine. Study results show that warm-ups allow exercisers to workout longer and burn more calories. A solid warm-up actually allows your body to work longer and harder throughout your entire workout!
Meanwhile, the cool down phase of your workout gradually decreases your body temperature and helps prevent muscle soreness. The cool down allows for an appropriate drop in blood pressure as well. Perhaps most importantly, a proper cool down prevents blood from pooling in your legs. If you slam on the brakes hastily at the end of your workout session, then blood collects in your muscles. This lengthens the time of pumping blood back to your heart and brain, causing dizziness, or even major cardiovascular traumas.
As you add warm-up and cool down segments to your regular exercise regimen, consider these tips from Judi Sheppard Missett, founder and CEO of Jazzercise, Inc.
Choose a warm-up activity that uses the same muscles that you will use in your workout.
Avoid deep stretches during your warm-up.
Use your warm-up time to gradually increase the range of motion of your major joints, including your ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders.
During your warm-up, work just hard enough that you will break a sweat in about 10 minutes.
At the end of your workout, continue your activity at a low intensity for 5-10 minutes to “cool down” your body.
Stretch major muscle groups during the cool down portion of your workout.
Perhaps the most important advice for warm-ups and cool downs is to “just do it!” The next time you’re tempted to view your warm-up or cool down as a waste of time, remember that these few minutes will keep your body fit and injury-free for future workout sessions.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.