Got a busy schedule, but still need to get in your daily dose of physical activity? In an effort to save time, you may be tempted to get to the gym, jump straight into your workout, and leave immediately after your last set. While this might save you a few minutes, it isn’t a good choice for the overall health and well-being of your body.

Every great workout should be started with a brief warm up and finished with a short cool down session. Think warming up and cooling down aren’t important? Think again!

The Importance of Warming Up

Warming up before starting your workout offers the following benefits:

• Dilates your blood vessels, supplying your muscles with more oxygen and nutrients
• Raises body temperature for optimal flexibility
• Gradually increases heart rate to minimize stress on the cardiovascular system
• Lessens stress on joints and tendons, helping to reduce risk of injury

How to warm up: Your warm up should be based on the workout you will be doing. In general, a warm up should make you break a sweat, but shouldn’t cause fatigue. Warm ups should be 5-10 minutes long and include a full-body activity at a low-to-moderate intensity. Examples include a light jog, dynamic stretches, or using a row machine.

The Importance of Cooling Down

Here are a few reasons you should implement a cool down session after your workouts:

• Allows for a gradual decrease of heart rate and body temperature. If you stop too fast, you could end up feeling sick or even passing out.
• Reduces build up of lactic acid.
• Can help reduce muscle soreness and speed up recovery.

How to cool down: Cooling down is similar to warming up. Do a light-to-moderate exercise until your heart rate drops below 120 bpm. Static stretching should also be done during the cool-down phase, not the warm up. Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds, and avoid rocking or bouncing.

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Insports is an indoor multi-sport facility located in Trumbull, Connecticut. We are home to the area’s largest indoor turf field, as well as numerous hardwood courts. We host year-round leagues, tournaments, camps, and clinics for a variety of sports, visit our website to learn more.