Warming up and cooling down is just as important as the working out that you do in between if you want to prevent cramping and maximize your results. Pushing your body to its maximum exertion without any warning is never good, but these simple and effective tips will help you to gradually prepare for exercise and come down from it once you’re finished.
- Go for a walk. If you’re an avid runner or power walker, walking is a simple yet effective way to warm up for your workout. Walking briskly for 10 minutes will get your heart rate up enough for an afternoon run, while walking slowly for 10 minutes is enough for a long walk.
- Do your chosen activity at a slower pace. Whether you’re preparing for a cycling class or some cardio kickboxing, leave enough time to do that same activity for a few gentle minutes beforehand.
- Reduce your heart rate. To cool down after a cardio workout, walk slowly for as long as it takes for your heart rate to gradually return to normal.
- Stretch. Stretching is most effective when your muscles are already warmed up, particularly after your exercise. Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds and avoid bouncing or jerking in order to gently reach your full range of motion.