Exercise is beneficial for the body, the mind and the soul. But, According to Statistics Canada, only 15 per cent of Canadians meet the minimum recommended amount of exercise for the week. Exercise can improve your mood, fight chronic diseases, help manage your weight, lead to a better night’s sleep — the list goes on and on. In order to get the most from your regular workouts and decrease your risk of injury, it is very important to warm-up, cool down and stretch.
Tips for a Safer Workout
Warming up transitions your body from a resting state to more rigorous activity level. It increases blood flow to your muscles so they stretch easier and are less likely to tear. Warming up also lubricates your joints, reducing friction and unnecessary wear. While warming up:
- Move similar to how you will in your workout by walking briskly, jogging or biking at a slow pace.
- Increase the intensity gradually to reduce stress on your bones, muscles and heart.
- Warm up for approximately 15 minutes so that you break a light sweat.
Like warming up, cooling down should include movements similar to those in your workout, but they should decrease in intensity gradually.
- Cool down for at least 10 minutes so that blood returns from your muscles to your heart. If you do not cool down long enough, you may become dizzy, nauseated or even pass out.
Don't Forget to Stretch!
Stretching before and after a workout builds flexibility and range of motion, and reduces your risk of injury while you are burning calories in a sweat session.
- Use gentle, fluid movements while stretching and breathe normally.
- Focus on individual muscle groups and hold a stretch for 20 to 60 seconds.