So you wake up early, tie up your sneakers and head out side for your daily run. You spend 3 to 5 minutes stretching your hamstrings and quads. And do a few jumping jacks! WRONG! All physical activities should start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. Why are they so important? A good warm up dilates your blood vessels, insuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen. It also raises your muscle temperature for optimal flexibility and efficiency by slowly raising your heart rate. The warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart when you start your workout.
Just as critical, the cool down keeps the blood flowing throughout the body. Stopping suddenly can make you feel light headed because your heart rate and blood pressures drops rapidly. Winding down slowly allows them to fall gradually.
Here is how to do a proper warm-up and cool-down:
Dynamic stretching involves stretching while you are moving. It is an excellent full body warm up before any type of intense activity. Some of the benefits:
1. It warms your body up faster than low level aerobic activity. 2. It helps improve the range of motion around the joints. 3. And it prepares your body for better performance in order to prevent injuries.
Static stretching is an excellent cool-down.
It is used to stretch while the muscle is at rest and is held in a static position for a prolonged period of time generally 15-30 seconds. It is composed of various techniques that gradually lengthen a muscle to an elongated position and improves the mobility and range of movement.
Have a great workout and remember to STRECH AND EXHALE!
By Teri Seier Moore