Litesport 101 · Workouts · Nov 23, 2022
How to Warm Up & Cool Down: And Why Is It Important?
Don’t think about your warm-up or cool down as separate from your workout. Or as unnecessary time-wasters at either end of the real deal.
Think about your warm-up as quite literally warming up your body for a few minutes before you dial up the intensity. And then your cool down as the few minutes of transition back to baseline once you’re done.
You don’t need much time to warm up or cool down. Yet the benefits of building those few minutes into your routine can go a long way in helping you avoid injury and improve your performance.
Here’s why the warm-up and cool down is so important and how you can build them into your Litesport workout:
But you might notice that before you get into the action, your Trainers are guiding you off the platform and calling out drills like high knees, jumping jacks, or squats. The intention behind these first few minutes of your workout is to get your body ready for the ring.
These exercises are your warm-up. As the name suggests, they involve movements that help warm up your muscles so they’re ready to move. During a warm-up, you’re raising your body temperature, increasing your blood flow, and slowly raising your heart rate and breathing. This increases the oxygen supply to your muscles allowing for greater length and flexibility.
So instead of going from zero to 60 and putting immediate stress on your heart and unprepared muscles, you’re transitioning your body from rest to action. This not only helps prevent injury but it improves the efficiency of your workout. Warmed-up muscles are far more effective than cold ones.
What Does a Warm-up Look Like?
Your warm-up doesn’t need to be complicated or even last that long. It’s a few short minutes of lower intensity exercises that target the muscles you’re going to be using. Just like you wouldn’t walk into a gym and immediately start benching a ton of weight the same concept applies to any high-intensity workout.
A warm-up typically lasts 5 to 10 minutes and involves:
- Performing a few minutes of the activity you’re about to do at a slower pace or reduced intensity (like push-ups before a bench press or walking before a run)
- Exercises that get your body moving and ramp up your heart rate without increasing the intensity too fast (like unweighted squats or jumping jacks)
- Dynamic stretching or moving your muscles in and out of a stretch without holding for too long. Like moving between left and right side lunges as Trainer Anthony is doing here:
While dynamic stretching can be helpful for a warm-up you typically don’t want to stretch cold muscles, or muscles that haven’t warmed up yet. So save your stretching for after your workout and focus on keeping your body moving in your warm-up.
How to Warm Up With Litesport
If you’re pressing play on a Trainer Class, your Trainers build a warm-up into the workout. But if you want more dedicated time to warm up—or if you’re starting a Punch Track, Mitt Drill, or Sparring Session, or that doesn’t have a warm-up built-in—we recommend starting with a brief warm-up.
The Cool Down
You’re dialing up the intensity in every Litesport workout. As your fists are flying your heart rate elevates, your blood flow increases, and your muscles fire on all cylinders. That’s a lot of stress you’re putting on your body. That’s why after you finish your workout it’s important to bring your body back to baseline.
This is where a cool down comes in as a crucial part of your workout routine. The purpose of a cool down is to slowly bring your heart rate and blood pressure down. This helps prevent any nausea or dizziness that can sometimes result from abruptly switching from a high-intensity workout to zero activity.
Think of it like the on and off-ramp for a highway. As you’re exiting the highway you need to reduce your speed so that you can cruise at a normal neighborhood pace. But if you slam on the brakes, this isn’t great for the long-term health of your car.
Your cool down is the offramp, or the chance to slowly lower your speed and intensity until you’re back to normal. So while the warm-up helps bring you from zero to 60, the cool down brings you from 60 back to zero.
What Does a Cool Down Look Like?
A cool down involves a lower intensity version of the workout you just finished, so your heart rate and blood pressure decrease gradually instead of rapidly. For example, if you’re going for a run a cool down could be a slower jog or a walk. With Litesport, your Trainers walk you through smaller movements and stretches at the end of class.
Here’s what a cool down looks like in one of our Trainer Classes:
A cool down typically lasts 5 to 10 minutes and involves:
- Performing a few minutes of the activity you just finished but at a slower pace or reduced-intensity (like walking after a run)
- Taking a few minutes to stretch the muscles you used. This helps keep your muscles strong, healthy and injury-free while increasing the range of motion in your joints, leading to better flexibility. Since you warmed up your muscles in the workout, the muscle fibers easily lengthen during a cool down, deepening the stretch.
- Focusing on breathing in and out to bring more oxygen into your body and muscles as you slow down.
- Loading up on fluids to replace all the water you sweat out and to help regulate your body’s temperature.
And it doesn’t need to last long! Depending on the intensity and length of your workout you might only need a few minutes for your heart rate and breathing to return to normal.
Cool down with five of our favorite post-boxing stretches. Give these a try after your next full-body Litesport workout.
While they might tack on a few extra minutes to your routine, the warm-up and cool down help reduce stress on your body, keeping you healthy and injury-free. So join us in a meditation, yoga, stretch, warm-up, or any one of our 600+ workouts with a Litesport Membership today. We’ll see you in the ring!
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