Warming Up and Cooling Down
Warming up and cooling down are necessary parts of training and preparing for a competition. Engaging in a proper warm up prior to training helps us to physically and mentally prepare our bodies. A good warm up will be dynamic and have you moving. This will help activate our nervous system, increase blood flow and activate the muscles we plan to use. Benefits of a good dynamic warm up include:
- Maximizing our strength and power during competition
- Increased nervous system activity
- Improved overall athletic performance
- Decreased risk of injury
As important as it is to adequately prepare our body prior to training, it’s just as important to take care of it when we’re done. Making sure that we properly cool down after we train or compete will help our bodies to recover properly as well as improve our flexibility and decrease our risk of injury.
Here’s a few tips to guide your warm up and cool down:
- Make your warm up dynamic. This means you should be moving throughout your warm up and avoid static stretching.
- Warm up for 10-15 minutes. Start with slow, low intensity movements and progress to faster and higher intensities at the end.
- Begin your cool down with active recovery. This could be something like a short walk to let your heart rate return to normal while still letting blood flow to your muscles.
- Use static stretching as a part of your cool down. This will help your muscles in their healing process as well as preserve or improve your flexibility.
Here’s one of our favorite pre-race warm ups to get you and your body ready to go! And a post-race cool down to help you recover when you’re done!