Life is busy, even in lockdown! If you manage to squeeze a workout in on a regular basis, we tip our cap to you. That means you’re making your physical health a priority and weknow that’s not easy.
We’re right there with you, sneaking in that run between meetings and blasting the early-morning alarm to get ourselves moving before the day starts. And that makes it super tempting to make our workouts as quick and efficient as possible.
So we started to wonder: do wereally need to warm up and cool down? Skipping these steps saves precious minutes — and what’s the worst that could happen?
Well, turns out you definitely shouldn’t skip your warm-up and cool-down. In fact, about 30 seconds of research had theMayo Clinic, theAmerican Heart Association,andHarvard all telling us easing our bodies into and out of a workout is key.
Here’s the thing. When you warm up, you give your heart, blood vessels, and muscles the opportunity to prepare for whatever your workout’s going to bring. This helps you prevent injury and minimizes the stress on your cardiovascular system.
Cooling down can help you fend off muscle cramping. It also keeps your blood flowing after your workout, which prevents that post-exercise light-headed feeling.
Your warm-up should be about five to 10 minutes long. Start slowly and gradually pick up the pace of whatever you do. Lunges, jumping jacks, and other actions that get your heart rate and muscles going are great. Or we particularly liked a tip from Harvard: dance around to a few songs.
Your cool-down should also be five to 10 minutes. Do some gentler cardio (think walking at an increasingly slow pace), then finish with some stretching.
Yeah, your warm-up and cool-down add 10 to 20 minutes to your workout. But they also help your body get all of the benefits of your exercise while minimizing the risks, so it’s worth it.
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