Exercising is essential to your health and wellness. But if you’re not working out properly, you may be putting yourself at risk of injury — defeating the entire purpose of exercising in the first place. Choosing a workout that aligns with your fitness level, consulting a medical professional before getting started and wearing proper clothing are all important. So is, however, warming up before and cooling down after. Check out these excellent and effective warm-up and cool-down routines you can incorporate into your workout regimen for a stronger, healthier you.
Physical therapist David Reavy makes two very important notes about the importance of warming up. First, taking care of muscle tightness before beginning your workout, including a warm-up, is helpful. Reavy recommends using a foam roller to take care of tightness. You could also check your local fitness center to see if they offer classes in case you need more guidance. The second point Reavy makes is that you should avoid using static stretching as a warm-up, and instead focus on dynamic movements to prep your body for a workout.
Jillian Michaels preps exercisers for a tough workout with this five-minute circuit-style warm-up routine — a mix of cardio and dynamic stretches. This segment is part of her No More Trouble Zones workout and is available via the BeFit channel on YouTube.
Adam Rosante’s Perfect Warm Up for Beginners for CosmoBody clocks in at under three minutes, but it is dynamic, utilizing moves such as lunges and squats to help prepare your body for a workout. Rosante praises dynamic warm-ups in the video, saying, “One of the other great things about a dynamic warm-up is that it moves the body through the multiple planes of motion that you’ll be going through on any given workout.” For a longer warm-up, you could try pairing Rosante’s warm-up with Astrid Swan’s Dynamic Warmup, also for CosmoBody. The subscription service’s YouTube Channel offers both clips as part of their warm-up and cardio playlist, and they work well together.
Fitness Blender has a great Easy Warm Up Cardio Workout that will get your heart rate up and your body ready for a kick-ass workout with moves like slow rocking butt kickers and a boxing shuffle.
It’s hard to motivate yourself to add more time to your workout when you already been put through the paces of a tough routine, but think of that extra five minutes at the end of your workout as an opportunity to celebrate your achievement and feel centered. Our cool-down report has some great techniques to get your started.
Fitness Blender has cool-down routines that are unfussy and effective. If you’re pressed for time, the Fast 5 Minute Cool Down and Stretching Workout for Busy People is designed to increase flexibility and help you wind down. If you have some more time to devote to your cool-down, try the 13-minute Cool Down Workout, a calming routine of stretches and yoga postures such as Cobra and Modified Pigeon. Another great option is the 7-minute Total Body Cooldown, a series of movements that will stretch out your entire body and help to improve coordination.
The cool-down portion of Jillian Michaels’s No More Trouble Zones workout from BeFit’s YouTube channel is a gentle stretch that will help you give love to sore muscles after a tough workout.
Next time you work out, take the time to care for your body before and after with some of these great routines. If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor to see what stretches and dynamic movements will work best for your body.