Warming Up & Cooling Down

A proper warm up and cool down is an essential part of
any workout that is often neglected or preformed
improperly by active individuals. Both the warm up and
cool down should be incorporated into your exercise
routine to help prepare the body for activity and to aid in
recovery following exercise. Although this may add a few
extra minutes to your routine, preforming these simple
components could help reduce stress to your heart and
muscles as well as prevent injuries.

A proper warm up includes dynamic stretching.
Essentially, dynamic stretching involves stretching while
moving. This helps increase blood flow, lubricate joints
and fires up your cardiovascular system. Our muscles are
like elastic bands. If you go all day sitting at your desk,
they go unused and become tight. When you go to use
them for a game or workout when they are “cold and
tight”, you will have a greater chance of tearing those
muscles. Pre-workout dynamic stretching allows our
muscles the opportunity to loosen and warm up, which
reduces the risk of injury. Dynamic movements also put
your joints through the necessary ranges of motion of
your sport or activity to prepare them for exercise. For
example, baseball players often complete pre-game arm
circles to prepare for the action of throwing.


Sample warm up video posted above;

  • Deep Squat to Hamstring Stretch, hold each position for 5 seconds, repeat 10 times
  •  Side Lunges, hold to the side for 5 second, Squat into other side
  • Reverse Lunge with Twist, repeat 10 on each leg
  •  Trunk rotation, 20-30 seconds
  • Shoulder rotations with overhead press, repeat 10-15 times
  • Arm circles, 20-30 seconds, forwards and backwards
  • Inch worm into downward dog, 10 times, hold DWD for 5 to 10 seconds

A cool down can be very beneficial after any physical
activity, as it allows your body to relax while gradually
returning your heart rate and breathing back to regular
resting levels. This will help the exerciser avoid becoming
faint or lightheaded. Have you ever felt sore the day after
a workout? Incorporating some basic static stretching
will help reduce muscles soreness. Stretching after a
workout provides the muscles an opportunity to relax
and recover after being under stress. Try a simple yoga
routine to help slow down your breathing. Hold each
pose/stretch for 20-30 seconds.

Sample cool down routine in video above: 

  •  Hold the Downward Dog position for 20 seconds
  • Forward lunge, 20 seconds each leg. Elevate hands above head to stretch your core
  • Drop into the pigeon pose, 20 seconds each side 
  • Alternate between Cat and Cow, holding each pose for up to 20 seconds before moving to the next pose
  • Side Lying Trunk Rotation, rotate arm across body 3 times each with a 10 second hold
  • Single knee to chest, 20 seconds each leg
  • Double knee to chest, 20 second hold  

Next time you are physically active, think about
incorporating a 5-10 minute warmup prior to exercise,
and reserve an additional 5-10 minutes afterwards to
allow your muscles to recover. By doing so, your
workouts will become more effective, while helping to
reduce the chance of injury and stress on your body.

About the Author; 

Erin Matheson joined the LiveWell team in July of 2016 as Dr. O' Reilly's Chiropractic Health Assistant. Erin is a proud graduate of Fanshawe College's Fitness and Health Promotion program. She also holds a personal training certification from the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology. In her spare time, Erin can be found cooking, playing and coaching sports, predominantly hockey and softball.