Whether you are swimming at the local pool or lifting weights in one of the many Dubai gyms, knowing how to warm up and cool down your body is crucial. Properly warming up and cooling down your body before and after a workout can not only prevent injuries but also improve the effectiveness of the exercise. Here are some tips that can help you with both parts of that process.
1 – Don’t stretch cold
While stretching is important, stretching before you warm up generally a mistake. You want to do something dynamic first to elevate your heart rate. That will dilate your blood vessels, providing more oxygen to your muscles, and will also improve your flexibility, which makes stretching both easier and more effective.
A cold stretch, on the other hand, may not loosen your body up to the same extent as a warm stretch. To make matters worse, stretching cold also increases the risk of injury.
2 – Warm-up slowly
Pick a warm-up routine that will allow you to warm up slowly, gradually increasing your heart rate. This means, for example, that you shouldn’t take off on a dash as soon as you start warming up. Start by walking, then slowly start increasing the speed.
A good warm-up should last between 5 and 10 minutes, and it will ideally involve all your major muscle groups. If you are not sure how to achieve that goal, look up warm-up routines online, or ask for tips from your gym instructor.
3 – Don’t stop immediately
It can be tempting to stop or sit down after an extraneous exercise, but staying still while your heart rate is still elevated puts stress on your cardiovascular system. Just as you warmed up gradually at the beginning of the exercise, it’s also important to cool your body down gradually by slowly reducing the intensity of the activity before you rest.
One easy way to do this is to walk for a while, which will give your body time to cool down and slowly return to normalcy. There are also specific cooldown exercises you can learn to keep yourself moving as your body relaxes. Just like a good warm-up, a good cool down should take around 10 minutes and work all your major muscle groups.
4 – Stretch again
Intense activity puts stress on your muscles and joints, generating tension. Before you are fully cooled down, it’s a good idea to get one more stretching session done to release that tension. That can help reduce the intensity of post-workout aches, and it will help the recovery process.
Just be careful of how far you push your body when stretching. The goal is to push just to the verge of discomfort and stop there. While not stretching is dangerous, overstretching can also cause issues and injuries. It’s also important to get our final stretching done before your body is fully cold, otherwise, you’ll need to warm up again to prevent issues.