WHY WARM UP AND COOL DOWN?
There are plenty of reasons to make sure you incorporate a warm-up routine into your workout plan. Let’s take a look at them one-by-one.
PROTECT YOUR HEART
A good warm-up should include enough exertion to get your blood pumping nicely and get your heart rate up slightly, or a great deal depending on the level of work expected. If you go straight into the main exercise without warming up, you’ll increase the pressure on your heart which is not recommended.
Five minutes of gentle or light cardio exercise finishing off with something a little more vigarous; i.e sprints, (to increase the muscles elasticity and heart and lungs) before any kind of workout will get your body ready for the event ahead, whether that’s running, cycling, weight-lifting, circuits, etc. Your increased heart rate will prepare your body for the extra oxygen it’s going to need throughout the activity too.
Warming up increases the blood flow to your ligaments and tendons. This has the effect of ‘oiling’ your joints and making them more flexible.
STRETCHING THE TRUTH
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about stretching. Things like “You only need to stretch a couple of times a week to get the benefits” or “You should always do dynamic stretches, not static, for the most benefit”.
The truth is you should always stretch before any type of moderate to intense exercise and the types of stretches depend on the activity you’re about to do. Stretches are best performed after raising your heart rate and body temperature and immediately before the main exercise.
Through my knowledge both training and studying notes I recommend that; Static stretches are generally best post-workout as they will help to gradually relax the muscles.