Warming up and cooling down are both essential to a good workout. And they help ensure that your body is ready for more workouts in the near future.
Always Warm Up Before You Exercise
A warmup doesn't necessarily just mean stretching. It means a lower intensity version of the physical activity that you are about to do. The greater the intensity of workout, the longer the warmup should be.
- Get your blood circulating and lubricate your joints
- Increase delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, which prevents you from getting out of breath too easily
- Prepare your heart for activity, which helps you avoid a rapid increase in blood pressure
Always Cool Down After You Exercise
A proper cooldown helps your heart rate gradually return to normal and can help prevent injury. The first part of a good cooldown is gradually slowing your intensity for several minutes. The second part is stretching. Try holding stretches for at least 20 seconds.
- Help your heart rate and breathing return to normal at a gradual pace
- Avoid fainting or dizziness, which can result from blood pooling in the large muscles of the legs when vigorous activity is suddenly stopped
- Reduce the immediate post-exercise tendency for muscle spasm, cramping and stiffness
A great way to get the legs primed for a run is a short foam rolling session. It’ll prepare you for the road, and it’s a great way to recover after you have put in the miles.
IT Band Roll
Lie sideways with the foam roller positioned under the side of your thigh. Take your top leg in front to the floor for balance. Roll between your knee and your hip bone. Spend extra time on any tender spots. Repeat on both sides.
Start in a seated position with both of your hamstrings on the roller at the same time and hold your body weight up with your hands behind you. Roll back and forth from your glutes to the back of your knees. To increase the pressure, lift one leg off the roller. For a quad roll, start lying face down with both of your thighs on the roller at the same time and hold your body weight up in a forearm plank. Roll back and forth from your hips to your knees. To increase the pressure, lift one thigh off the roller.
Start similarly to the hamstring roll with both hands behind you. Cross your legs at the ankles (or roll one leg at a time) and slowly roll from the bottom of your lower leg (around the Achilles up to just below the knee). Rotate the contact point slightly to ensure that you’re reaching the entire calf. Switch your leg position (by crossing your legs the opposite way) to roll the other calf.