WHY WARM UP AND COOL DOWN?
There are plenty of reasons to make sure you incorporate a warm-up routine into your workout plan; i.e;
PROTECT YOUR HEART
A good warm-up should include enough exertion to get your blood pumping nicely and get your heart rate up slightly. 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 before any kind of workout will get your body ready for the event ahead, and finish at the end of the warm up with increasing your intensity .e. sprints bursts, 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.
BE MORE MENTALLY ALERT
The effect on your brain of increased motion and blood flow is increased alertness. Because the exercises you perform during a warm-up are less intense, you’ll also have more time to think and get yourself in the right mindset for your workout. This can help you to push past ‘the wall’ if you’re doing an intense session.
If you’re competing, whether it’s against others or yourself, then warming up has been shown to considerably improve performance. A 2010 study from the ' Journal of Strength Conditioning Research' revealed that a well-thought-out warm-up could increase athlete’s performance by up to 79%.
DON’T FORGET THE COOL DOWN
Just as important as warming up is the cool down. Why? Slowing your heart rate gradually to a resting level will protect your arteries and their valves, (there's loads valves) and stop them from relaxing, (This is really important long term!) and as well as your heart and from the stress created by sudden big changes in activity levels. It will also help to rid your body of lactic acid which can make your muscles sore the following day if you don’t flush it out.