Natural Fitness Studio

Warm Up, Cool Down!

Think the first thing you should do before exercise is stretch? Think again!
by Joseph A. de Silva

Most people are aware of the benefits of stretching before and after a workout. But a proper warm-up goes beyond stretching. Just as you warm-up your car before driving, your body needs some time to rev its motor before roaring ahead.

So we recommend a light cardiovascular exercise as the first activity in your routine. This could be any other activity that gets your heart moving. A quick warm-up gives muscles that may be tight from inactivity an opportunity to lengthen slightly. This will improve the quality of your stretching.

Ready, Set, Warm-up!

It’s important to create a routine for exercise – the warm-up should be your first step. Many of us exercise before or after work; use the warm-up as a time to get rid of the work stress and focus on your training. If you’re a beginner, choose a simple exercise for your warm-up such as a quick walk, jog, or a bicycle ride. Do this for about five to ten minutes. After the cardio, you should do static stretching throughout the body.

If you’re more advanced, you may want to start with a more activity-specific warm-up, using tools like a medicine ball or mini-bands (ask your gym instructor for assistance).

Cool Down

The cool down period after exercising is critical to retaining the benefits of your workout. After you’ve finished the bulk of your workout, either continue to perform your chosen activity at a lower level or take a brisk walk. Either way, be sure to reduce your heart rate gradually. This will lower your risk of dizziness or fainting, which can occur when a vigorous exercise is stopped abruptly.

After your cardio cool-down, go directly into static stretching. Muscles are tightened during exercise; you need to stretch again to return them to their optimal length.

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online Now!

Recent News

Need Equipment?

Visit Perform Better.com to buy all of your fitness gear.

No matter where you get it, we'll always show you how to use it properly to meet your goals.

Shop Online »