Before you go and workout or play a game, you want to have a warm up routine which is very important. But after working out or playing a sport you always want to have a cool down routine. A cool down routine is just as important as a warm up routine. “Warming up and cooling down are good for your exercise performance — you’ll do better, faster, stronger — and for your heart since the increased work on the heart ‘steps up’ with exercise,” said Richard Stein, M.D., professor of cardiology in the Department of Medicine at New York University and co-director of Cardiology Consult Services.
A proper warm-up before a workout or game will dilates your blood vessels, ensuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen. It also raises your muscles’ temperature for optimal flexibility and efficiency. By slowly raising your heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart. It is not good for your body to just go straight into a very hard workout or a game because your body will not be properly warmed up for the workout the player is about to face. “Warming up before any workout or sport is critical for preventing injury and prepping your body,” said Johnny Lee, M.D., director of the Asian Heart Initiative at the New York University Langone Medical Center and president of New York Heart Associates in New York City.
Cooling down after a workout is as important as warming up. After physical activity, your heart is still beating faster than normal, your body temperature is higher and your blood vessels are dilated. This means if you stop too fast, you could pass out or feel sick. The workout should be intense until the end, which will cause the heart to increase so stopping immediately will not be good for your body. The workout needs to start to slow down and go right into stretching. It’s good to stretch when you’re cooling down because your limbs, muscles and joints are still warm. Stretching can help reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which can lead to muscles cramping and stiffness. So do your body a favor, make a proper warm up and cool down to help you in the future.