Before participating in any form of physical activity it is essential you prepare your body. A warm-up routine is important for many reasons including:
- Increasing heart rate to prepare the body for exercise or physical activity
- Increasing the circulation of blood flow, which increases the delivery of oxygen to the working muscles
- Ensuring muscles are supple and pliable, improving flexibility
- Important as a form of mental preparation
- Reducing the risk of injuries
More specifically, a “dynamic” warm-up is recommended. A dynamic warm-up involves continuous movement and prepares the muscles in a more sport-specific manner.
Watch the instructional video below of an examples of a dynamic warm-up
Additionally, after a workout it is important you take the time to cool-down. The cool-down period consists of gradually returning your body to its resting state. A good cool-down provides many benefits, including:
- Removing waste products, such as lactic acid, from the muscles and preventing cramp
- Reducing muscles soreness and stiffness
- Preventing blood pooling and recirculating blood back to the heart, muscles, and brain
- Preparing the body to for the next workout, whether that be the next day or in a week
Stretching is recommended during the cool down period, as it improves range of motion. There are two types of stretching you should consider:
- Static Stretching – involves holding a stretch which is comfortable but challenging for a period of 10-30 seconds.
- Passive Stretching – includes the use of an external force to achieve the stretch. This could be accomplished through a partner, stretching device, or a resistance band.
Watch the instructional videos below on examples of stretches.