In order to truly welcome one of our new personal trainers Luke Davis to the C&G team, we thought we’d ask for his tips on warming up and warming down properly when you exercise.
Physiotherapist (and Carter & George’s Co-Director) Rhys Carter has seen countless patients in the past whose injuries could have been prevented had they spent five or ten minutes easing themselves into their session. Therefore even if you’re short on time and just want to hop on the treadmill, run onto the pitch, or start lifting the heavy stuff, stop for a minute and think about the risks you could be posing to your body. Nobody is exempt from injury – not even the most experienced athletes – so it’s always worth spending five minutes getting your muscles ready to be exercised.
This is what Luke had to say:
“Warm-ups and cool-downs generally involve doing your activity at a slower pace and reduced intensity.
Warming up helps prepare your body for aerobic activity. A warm-up gradually revs up your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles, and dynamic stretches are best for this (stretches that involve more vigorous movement e.g. a light jog).
Warming up and cooling down can prevent injuries, and proper warm-ups and cool-downs pose little risk. Plus, they seem to give your heart and blood vessels a chance to ease into — and out of — an exercise session. So always consider including a warm-up and cool-down in your workout routine.”
So not only is warming up great for the muscles around your body – it’s great for your heart and blood vessels too.
Cooling down is just as important, as it enables you to stretch those muscles out and avoid some of the stiffness and soreness you may experience after a difficult workout. It also aids recovery, as your heart rate and blood pressure gradually return to normal.
Here are a few good exercises that can be used to warm up and cool down the body:
- Walk at a medium pace on a treadmill for 2-3 minutes at a slight incline. Increase this to a slow jog for 2 more minutes on a flat surface to increase body temperature and heart rate
- Hop on a cross trainer for 5 minutes for a full body warm up at medium intensity
- Body-weight exercises e.g. burpies, jumping jacks, sit-ups and push-ups are also great dynamic warm-ups. Do a few reps of each to raise your body temperature and increase blood flow to your muscles.
- Walk at a medium pace up a steep hill on a treadmill for a minute or two, and then drop the pace as slow as the treadmill will allow and lunge forwards, stretching out the calf muscle on your back leg and using the rolling hill to aid your stretch. Walk and lunge like this for a minute or two until your legs feel stretched.
- Floor work such as crunches and sit-ups are a great way to cool down after a cardio workout, as you are able to lie back and let your heart rate settle slowly, whilst still working your core.
- Always stretch out your arms and legs after a workout with some dynamic stretches (like you always would after P.E. lessons at school) in order to save yourself some soreness the next day.
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Fancy some physio yourself before our official opening? Sign up to one of our three pop-up clinics taking place this month in St Albans, Hertford and at Haileybury College! More information here.