Warm-Up and Cool Down: The Basics
We know that each workout should start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down, but more often than not, athletes tend to skip one or both. Especially when pressed for time. Not incorporating a warm-up and cool-down into your training can be detrimental to your overall performance when it comes time for race day. While also puts you at the disadvantage of a much higher risk of injury. Just like giving your car time to warm up before cruising at 65 mph, your body needs this time to get in a higher gear for more intense workouts or fitness activities. Keep reading to know the importance of warming up and cooling down during your CapTex Tri training.
Why You Should Warm-Up
A warm-up before a training session or race is essential for preparing your body and mind for a workout session. The main point of a warm-up is to increase your body core temperature and muscles. Warming up will not only help you to perform better, but it will also protect your body from injury. A good warm-up gets your blood flowing and gives you a chance to get energized for the rest of your session. It also helps increase the range of motion to your joints and muscles, which should allow your muscles to feel less stressed and stiff when you start. A dynamic warmup should aim to increase blood flow to the areas which will be working and to wake up the nervous system throughout the body.
A guideline to a general warm-up routine would include:
Jogging, biking, etc. for about 5 minutes to just get your blood flowing and get those muscles and joints moving. You want to work at a comfortable pace that’s easy to moderate. For the bike, a good warm-up should consist of five to 10 minutes of easy spinning, and then slowly increasing to the gear you wish to complete your session in. This really helps “open up” your body before getting into the more strenuous part of your workout.
Why You Should Cool-Down
Don’t come to an abrupt stop when completing your exercise, especially if it has been high intensity. Instead, you should cool-down by exercising at a lower intensity than the main session to bring your body temp and heart rate back down to pre-exercise levels. The cool-down should last around five to 10 minutes no matter what discipline you are training for that day. Cooling down helps to gradually decrease your heart rate and get rid of the metabolic waste from your muscles.
Mentally, cooling down also allows you some space to reflect on your performance and gives you some time to set you up for the rest of the day. Don’t underestimate the importance of this! Pro tip: Add some stretches to your cool down while your muscles are warmed up for one of the best ways to improve your overall flexibility and mobility while also reducing post-workout pain.
Adding a warm-up and cool down into your fitness routine is a simple, yet proven way to maximize your benefits when working out. The warm-up gives your body a chance to prepare for your session while the cool-down then helps you focus on slowing your breathing and return to your normal heart rate. Rather than seeing it as an optional part of your workout, think of warming up and cooling down as part of your session to get the most out of all the hard work you’ve put in!