Warm Up Cool & Down

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excerciseEXERCISE is the key word for keeping yourself fit in this world of sedentary life style. Any kind of exercise which suits your body is good for your health. But it will give results only if it is scheduled properly.

As for any work first we prepare ourselves for that work. Same applies to exercise. There are many changes taking place in your body during exercise. So before starting any exercise you should prepare your body to take the challenges during the exercise session and also after the exercise you need to pull back your body to normal parameters.


So Warming up before exercise and Cooling down after is mandatory to avoid any injury which will keep you away from the exercise.

SCHEDULE OF EXERCISE

For proper results and to avoid injuries, exercise should be scheduled as follows-

WARM UP

It is a preparation of the body for exercise proper. It helps to open up the blood vessels in the muscle and increase the blood circulation to the muscles by increasing the heart rate. Increased blood circulation provides oxygen and nutrients even before intense exercise. It also increases muscle temperature, muscle enzyme activity. Stretching will increase the elasticity of muscle and ligaments so that it can take maximum tension. These factors ease the contraction of the muscle. Proper warm up also delays the onset of fatigue during exercise.

Warm up should consist of five to ten minutes. Duration also depends upon the hour of day and on season. In this part of the world especially during summer time you will need very short time to warm up your body.

If you are going to do your workout early in the morning then you need more time to warm up your body. As after sleep all the parameters are at a low level as the body is completely relaxed. The  muscle tone is also low. The blood supply to the body as well as muscles is also minimal. So, proper warm up is needed.

In the afternoon the body temperature is high, the blood supply is also enhanced due to daily activities. The muscle tone is normal. Only thing is proper stretching is needed so that the muscles and the ligaments improve their elasticity to take up more load. So less time is required if the workout is in the afternoon or early evening.

Start warming up by doing body stretches. Stretching will increase the elasticity of muscle and ligaments. So that during exercise you can use the full length of your muscle and ligament. Ligaments are fibrous cords which may get torn in heavy exercises, so when they are stretched to their maximum length they can take up maximum load. Muscles can contract to their maximum force if they are stretched to their maximum length, so you can get more strength. Stretching also opens up the blood vessels in the muscle, so more blood can flow and more oxygen and nutrition can reach the muscle and that will enhance your performance.

After stretching perform the movements in all the joints of the body (Calisthenics). Starting from lower part of the body or from the upper part. These are free movements in all the joints that increase the tone of your muscles as well as free the joints. As joints are very important in any movement. The joints should move in their full range of motion to get maximum results.

As now you have prepared the muscles, joints, ligaments the next step is to increase the blood supply of the body so that all the elements will be well nourished. Jogging for 2 to 3 minutes will increase the heart rate, so the heart will pump more blood to the body. For exercise the muscles should be properly nourished with nutrients like glucose which is provided by blood. Oxygen is continuously required for the muscle during exercise, so more the blood more will be supply of oxygen to the muscle. The last part of warm up includes weight free exercises so to add more loads on to the muscles, joints and ligaments using your own body weight. Push-ups for the upper body and free squats for the lower body are good free weight exercise before the actual exercise. Push up will include most of the joints and muscles of the upper part of the body and free squats of the lower body. For resistance training, additionally light weight exercises are to be performed for the group of muscles, which are to be exercised in the training session now your body is ready to take up challenges as you are going to push your body to the maximum during the workout.

FITNESS EXERCISES

Warming up is followed by exercise proper. It may be a weight training session or a cardio exercise. The exercise proper should last from 20 minutes to an hour depending on your age, gender, medical fitness and general fitness level. This can vary if you are a regular exerciser.

During the workout all the parameters of the body increase to very high level. The pulse and the blood pressure is high. The body temperature is high. You are sweating as the body tries to control the heat produced during exercise. Most of the blood flowing through the body is pumped into the muscles.

After the workout session the muscle is tired. The proteins in the muscle breakdown, glucose are converted into lactic acid. The water and the electrolyte levels in the body go down due to sweating.  All these thing has to be restored and bring back the body to its normal position. So now you need is cooling down.

COOL DOWN

Cool down is equally important as warming up. This part is often neglected. This brings all the parameters of the body back to normal. During exercise all the body parameters as Pulse, Blood pressure, Temperature increase many folds. Most of the blood is pulled inside muscle for the exercise. So it is necessary to bring all these parameters to normal. First slow down your movements, but never stop suddenly. That will slowly bring down the heart rate and the pulse. Also take deep breaths that will also slow down your heart. If exercise is suddenly stopped, blood is pooled down in muscle that may lead to fainting. Proper cool down enhances the blood return.

After slowing down, perform all the stretches. Stretching will relax the muscle and ligaments. It will also open up the blood vessels in the muscle so that the blood will return to the heart as well as fresh blood can come in the muscle. The returning blood will take the waste products accumulated in the muscle such as lactic acid and the incoming blood will bring the nutrients and oxygen for the recovery of the muscle.

Concentrate more on your breathing. Because during exercise we tend to breath fast as the need of oxygen increases. But hyperventilation may not help that purpose. So after exercise slow but deep breathing will help to take more oxygen inside body.

Ultimately lie down on your back and take deep breath for 2 to 3 minutes. This will completely relax your muscles, joints, ligaments. This will also slow down all the parameters.

As you can see many changes are taking place in our body during exercise. To cope up with all these changes Warm up and Cool down are as important as the exercise proper. So do not neglect this important portion of your exercise and you will get the results without harming your body.

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