How to warm up, cool down

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Follow these tips from Life Fitness and learn to efficiently incorporate warm-ups and cool-downs into your regular exercise.

Always warm up before you exercise. A warm-up means a lower intensity version of the physical activity you are about to do. The greater your intensity, the longer the warm-up should be.

Warm-ups...

- Help get your blood circulating and lubricate your joints.

- Increase delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles.

- Prepare your heart for activity, helping avoid a rapid increase in blood pressure.

Always cool down after you exercise. A proper cool-down will help your heart rate gradually return to normal.

First, gradually slow your intensity for several minutes. Then, stretch –– the best time is right after your initial slow-down since your muscles are still warm. Try holding stretches for at least 20 seconds.

Cool-downs...

- Help avoid fainting or dizziness, which can result from blood pooling in the large muscles of the legs after vigorous activity.

- Reduce the immediate post-exercise tendency for muscle spasm, cramping and stiffness.