While exercising, we have always heard of warm up and cool down phase, ever wondered why do we stress on these phases, and why are they considered as one of the most important aspects of training?
William Shakespeare rightly said ‘All that starts well ends well’, the same holds good here too. Warm up is something we need to concentrate on, as our body is moving from the state of rest to higher intensity of activity, which indeed will increase the sudden load on the muscles.
For example, when we are just sitting & relaxing and have to run suddenly, most of us end up having a muscle catch. One of the reasons for the muscle catch would be a sudden load on the muscles. Warm up helps in reducing the stress over the heart by gradually increasing breathing, circulation, body temperature and preparing the muscles. It also prevents injuries like muscle tears, ligament tears etc. because the muscles are well prepared for the activity. Activities like stretching, range of motion and beginning of the activity at low levels are some of the warm-up exercises.
The cooling down phase is as important as the warm-up phase because the increased activity of the heart and the muscles have to get back from a higher state of movement to a lower state. Many of us would have experienced giddiness or discomfort when we suddenly stop the treadmill, that’s because as the body needs to speed up gradually, in the same way, it needs to cool down slowly. In the cooling down phase, avoid sitting down immediately, stand still or lie down and relax before you begin the next activity.
Listen to the demands of the body. Our body speaks to us by giving several signals; we have to keep our senses alert to hear to the body. All of us have got breathless during the exercise sessions; this is the signal from the body demanding more oxygen. Pursed-lip breathing helps to restore the oxygen. The foremost thing is to enjoy whatever we are doing and make it fun by adding variety in your regime at the same time follow certain exercise principles such as warming up before you begin and cooling down before you end. The warm-up and cool down phases will help in enjoying the exercise session.
Happy exercise to you!!!
Dr. Aarzu bhavangri (Noorani) MPT, MIAP, MIAFT