You probably wonder why we go on so much about warming up and cooling down, the effects of not doing these pre- and post-workouts elements have such an effect on your muscles and mind. 

WHY Warm up: 

  • We need to warm up our bodies, to give our brain time to prepare for whats going to happen to the body, also it allows a muscle memory to take place and ignites a spark in our brains to remind us, make us feel empowered and ready to take on a fitness/ exercise class.
  • It allows our body to prepare for a workout. 
  • Muscles can feel cold, we want in a warmup for our blood flow to get round to the muscles we are using for example in a kettlebell class, we aim to hit the legs and back of the legs to make sure those parts of the body are warm, stretched before adding any weight. 
  • We must warm our hearts our cardiovascular system. We must raise the heart rate gently, we cannot go into a workout cold, especially HIIT this can cause our hearts to have a real shock, we need our heart rates to rise nicely and gently. To do this you could do lightly jog, half jacks, scissor low kicks. 
  • We warm up to prevent injury, to all our muscles, if our muscles are not warm, we could cause a massive injury. 
  • It can also minimise muscle soreness.

WHY Cool down: 

  • One main reason we cool down is to bring the heart rate our cardiovascular system down, to make sure it comes down to our normal level of Heart Rate. We should never abruptly stop you should always ease yourself out of the workout. 
  • We want to make sure we regulate our blood flow round our body. 
  • We should stretch the muscles used in the workout post BOXXFIT class we stretch out our shoulders, HIITSTEP we tend to really aim for the calves, Leg workout we aim for the quadriceps or hamstrings. 

The benefits of warming up: 

  • Improved Performance- Warming up improves your athletic performance.
  • Improved Blood Flow- Warming up for 10 minutes with an easy going activity improves blood flowing to your skeletal muscles, so increasing your blood flow is one of the best things you can do to set your muscles up for a workout.
  • Improved Oxygen Efficiency– oxygen is released in to our muscles and the muscles need more oxygen as our temperature rises our blood needs the oxygen to survive. 
  • Faster Muscle Contraction/Relaxation- Warming up raises your body temperature which allows your muscles metabolism to react quicker, your muscles will perform quicker and will be more efficient.
  • Injury Prevention-. Main reason to warm up is to prevent injury, we want to improve blood flow to joints, muscles, to loosen them and allow them not to tear, twist or rip. Stretching will also allow the muscle to prepare for the workout.
  • Mental Preparation- We all have that moment before we start a class that we are like how, will I get through this? This is mainly our brains are not ready to perform, however if we warm up, this allows the brain time, to focus, prepare, engage with the task ahead and also will improve your coordination. 

Benefits of Cooling Down:

  • Recovery- After we have completed a workout our body needs time to recuperate, lactic acid will build within your system and it will take time for it to leave the area you’ve worked out. Cooling down exercises for example stretching enables the body to release the lactic acid that has built up within the system and your body will recover a lot quicker post -workout. 
  • Reducing DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)– When you get up in the morning after a workout, do you ever get that feeling of ouch somewhere on your body and you might have that feeling for a couple of days, especially if you’ve gone quite heavy on a certain area of the body. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness can be very uncomfortable and make you feel like you don’t want to continue a workout the next few days, if you try to continue through the pain especially doing a fast walk a fast paced exercise your body will recoup a lot quicker than if you allow your body to stay still.

 What Happens If You Don’t Properly Warm Up and Cool Down?

  • Increased Risk of Injury- We all know this from our school PE days when our PE teachers would shout at us ‘You must warm up otherwise you will cause yourself an injury’ They were right, if you don’t you have more chance of being injured, over 30% of injuries are caused when we don’t warm up effectively. 
  • Blood Pooling-. Have you ever had the Dizzy lightheaded feeling during or post-workout, this is called blood pooling, this happens when we go from high intense exercising to sudden sharp, stop, the body make sures the lower extremities of the body and in result leaving your body without as much pressure to be pumped around your heart and brain – that’s why we feel awful. 
  • Increased Stress on Cardiovascular System-. Your hart rate and breathing needs to gradually increase, if it does not do this it will cause unnecessary stress on your heart and lungs.

GNC FITNESS STUDIO on demand ( online workouts), Personal training and exercise classes have a clear warm up and cool down its essential you take part in both, I know you want to skip to the good bit or complete the workout a little bit more quicker but try not to, especially at home your home isn’t designed for you to take on you jumping on it and your knees wont like it either, this is even more reason to take part in the warm up and cool down effectively.  Here is a little video of a stretch we put together during the first lockdown, please find time to do it, enjoy!

Happy stretching!

Lots of love your Sisters!