By: Amanda Martin
Life is busy so some days just getting to the gym feels like enough but if you don’t warm up or cool down, you run the risk of injury.
Want to limit that risk and improve your workout? Take five to 10 minutes to warm up. If you are one of our 5:30 a.m. gym goers… you’re getting out of bed and you’re stiff. Coming straight from work? You’ve likely been sitting all day. Think of muscles like rubber bands. If a rubber band is too tight and stretched too quickly, it will snap. By warming up. blood starts circulating to muscles, delivering oxygen and gently increasing heart rate. This allows the body and heart to be prepared for the stresses of exercise and it can increase muscle flexibility, lowering the chance of a muscle pull or joint pain.
After your workout is done, take a few minutes to cool down. At this point, there is a lot of blood circulating in your extremities and your heart rate is still elevated. Stretch and allow your heart rate to return to normal. Stretching can help to limit the build up of lactic acid (this is what makes us sore) and can decrease injury risk by improving joint range of motion. As you’re stretching, hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds, taking deep breaths. Don’t bounce while stretching, just hold the pose with light tension. If it starts to hurt, stop.
Personal Trainer Lizzy Natiello shares her favorite cool down stretches.
Curious about your range of motion? Want to know if your body is moving like it should? Visit the front desk to schedule a consultation with one of our personal trainers. We can assess your movement and provide guidance on how to optimize your health.