Many people go out for a run or start a pickup game of baseball without taking the time to properly warm up or cool down afterwards. But making this part of your routine before and after playing a game, running, exercising or engaging in any high-intensity activity is crucial to preventing serious injuries.
We see these types of injuries on a regular basis. One main goal besides trying to return an athlete to their prior level of function also involves emphasizing the importance of incorporating easy exercise routines into their regular day-to-day activities. Understanding the benefits of these workouts can help people understand why it is so important.
During a warm-up, there is no need to overexert your body. Keep the warm-up light and easy, but you should work hard enough to work up a light sweat.
This allows your blood to release oxygen at a higher temperature
Allows more blood and oxygen to reach your muscles, leading to better overall performance
Warming up allows capillaries to open, allowing about 70 percent of blood flow to the skeletal muscles
Allows your muscles work to their full potential
Joints become lubricated with fluid to allow for better mobility
Warm-ups can vary depending on the activity.
After the warm-up is completed, try to loosen up the muscles by properly stretching. You want to focus in on the muscles that you will be using the most during your specific sport or activity.
Remember to hold each stretch for at least 20-30 seconds to increase muscle extensibility, repeated each one two to three times.
Once you are finished with your workout or sport, it’s time to cool down. Cooling down can:
Performing a light jog around a track can help decrease soreness and prevent injuries from developing. It is particularly important to keep in mind that after performing a high-intensity workout, the body releases lactic acid. Over time, lactic acid buildup in your muscles can lead to soreness. Cooling down helps the body get rid of lactic acid buildup, decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.
A cool down can last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes, such as light jogging and slowing to a walking pace following weightlifting or a long run.
Below is a break down of how to add warm-ups and cool downs to your routine:
Warm-up >> Workout >> Cool Down OR Warm-up >> Stretch >> Workout >> Cool Down >> Stretch