Fitness: 3 essential aspects to remember for a effective workout – ‘don’t be unprepared’
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Warming up before a workout and cooling down after is often seen as a chore and is one of the most overlooked aspects of training in general. But stretching or completing a few simple exercises to get the body prepared for a cardio or resistance training session could be having an impact on your workout performance, say fitness experts.
Exercise Specialist Shawna Reed, detailed why people often don’t realise how important each of those elements are to having a successful workout.
1. Warming up
“Warming up before a workout is an important step toward injury prevention,” she said.
“A proper warm up increases flexibility and blood flow to a given area, which limits the chance of a muscle pull and joint pain.”
Shawna also noted that warming up also prepares your muscles to stretch during other exercises.
As an example, when doing any type of resistance training, tension is placed on the muscles.
“If the muscles are warmed up and able to stretch further, this will increase your range of motion and lower the risk for injury,” Shawna explained.
Examples of a good warm up are:
Complete these for at least five to 10 minutes.
Cardio is a great warm up because it gets the blood flowing throughout the body but Shawna advised to “always start slow and work your way up to a faster speed”.
2. Cooling Down
The purpose of the cool down is to return your heart rate close to resting.
“After exercise, your blood is heavy in your extremities and your heart rate is usually elevated,” Shawna said.
“Stopping quickly without a cool down can result in light-headedness, dizziness and/or fainting.”
A good example of a cool-down is walking after going for a run.
Shawna recommended people should spend anywhere from two to three minutes on their cool-down session every time they train.
The best time to do static stretching is after a workout as part of a proper cool down routine.
It involves standing, sitting, or lying still, holding a single position for a period of time without moving.
Shawna explained to Riverview Health: “The benefits of static stretching include relief from cramping, improved range of motion in the joints, decreased risk for injury and a decrease in the delayed-onset of muscle soreness.”
And stretching can also be very relaxing, both physically and mentally, considered to be most effective when you are in a relaxed and comfortable position.
“Take deep, slow breaths. There will be some mild tension while stretching, but don’t ever let it be painful,” she reminded.
“A little discomfort is OK, but pain is not.”
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