Why warming up is important!
To be safe, an exercise program should begin with a warm up period. The main purpose of warming up is to increase your heart rate slightly.
This has two benefits:
- it raises your core body temperature
- it increases the blood (oxygen) flow to your muscles to prepare your body for more vigorous physical activity.
Your muscles and tendons (which attach your muscles to your bones) will be more flexible for stretching after mild movement has raised your internal body temperature. This flexibility helps you increase the range of motion of your joints and may help you avoid injuries such as muscle tears and pulls.
How long should I warm up?
It takes your body approximately 3 minutes to realize it needs to pump more blood to your muscles. Warm ups should last approximately 5 – 10 minutes and they should incorporate stretching of large muscle groups (such as the quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulders etc…)
Duration of Cool Downs
It takes your body approximately 3 minutes to realize it does not need to pump all the additional blood to your muscles. A safe cool down period is at least 3 minutes, preferably 4-5 minutes. All cool downs should be followed by stretching of the muscles to avoid soreness and tightness.