You wake up on a Saturday morning to the sun shining, the birds chirping and a readiness to take on the day after a good nights sleep. All is right in the world, that is until you glance at your clock. You’re late! You should have been at the soccer field 30 minutes ago. In a rushed state of panic, you throw on your uniform, scramble to locate your keys, and make a mad dash to your car. The game has already started once you get there. The notice of your arrival has your coach cuing you to the field. You jump right into play and after intercepting the ball and assisting a goal your celebration is cut short. A sharp pain lingers on the backside of your right leg and you realize you have pulled your hamstring. This is why it is so important just to get the body moving at a slow pace to see what muscles are tight, etc. You can then let your Portland personal trainer know if areas of the body need to be stretched or exercises modified.
Warming up is often overlooked before a workout, a race, or a competitive game. Reason being that your adrenaline is on high in anticipation of what lies ahead, or you simply view a light jog or set of drills as a waste of time. The purpose is in the name itself. You are warming up your body so that you can mentally and physically prepare yourself for activity. When your body temperature increases, nerve impulses travel at a much faster speed, allowing your muscles to become pliable and move the way they should. This makes it possible for your muscles to reach their full range of motion without injury. Warm ups should last about 5-10 minutes in length, leaving you feeling warmer than when you started at a mild to moderate intensity. Feeling fatigued at the end of a warm up is a good indication that you went too hard. Ease yourself into your workout so that you are able to see it through.
On the opposite end of your workout is your cool down. This is also often disregarded because when we complete our set number of exercises we want to be done. Call it a day. In reality, the cool down is just as important as the workout itself. You want to ease your heart rate back down to a normal range, prevent blood pooling, and prevent delayed onset muscle soreness as much as possible. Completing some light stretches allow your muscles to return to their original length, and help eliminate the stiffness you might feel as you walk back to your car.
You should feel strong and challenged during the course of your workout, relaxed and free of tightness at the end. Prioritize a warm and cool down for all of your physical activity to keep your body healthy, safe, and injury free.
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