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Before and After Your Workout - Just 10 Minutes

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If you’ve ever noticed fatigue or severe soreness after exercising, it might mean you are not performing a proper warmup before and cool-down after your workout. Taking the extra five to 10 minutes both before and after an intense exercise is worth the extra time. Christian Mazur, a Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer, gives his suggestions for achieving the best workout.

Warm Up
A proper warmup before exercising can increase the blood flow and circulation in your body, which can assist in decreased muscle stiffness, enhanced performance and preventing repetitive stress injuries. Mazur suggests thinking of a warmup like starting a car. You wouldn’t start your car and immediately race it down the street, right? Our bodies are like the engine in a car. Just like belts and oil in an engine, our tendons and blood flow need an effective warmup before we reach an intense heart rate during exercise.

Mazur advises a low-impact, yet high-intensity warmup. This could include walking uphill on a treadmill, side shuffles or high knees (running in place while kicking up knees).

After raising the internal temperatures of your muscles and lubricating your joints, it’s time to get in a few good stretches. In preparation for a workout you should practice active stretching. Mazur explains active stretching as short stretches using your own body weight. Each stretch usually lasts around five seconds and should be practiced in a continuous cycle.

Cool Down
A cool-down is an important part of your overall fitness routine as it helps your body come back to a pre-workout state in a safe way. If performed correctly, a cool-down will help your body release muscle strains and flush toxins that built up during intense exercise. Mazur suggests a routine of passive stretching after every workout. Passive stretching is held for a long length of time which will help your body will release natural endorphins and receive a calming effect.

Mazur says having a partner or professional fitness trainer assist with passive stretching is a great way to relax the muscles and bring circulation back to a pre-workout state. He also suggests having “recovery days” in between workouts that might include swimming or yoga, as both activities are therapeutic, stretch your muscles and achieve proper circulation.

Your warmup and cool-down may include equipment. One of Mazur’s favorite pieces of equipment is the foam roller. Foam rolling exercises are oftentimes thought of as your own personal massage therapist. Foam rolling allows you to improve your soft tissue extensibility, therefore relaxing your muscles. They are offered in various sizes or densities.

During your warmup try using a treadmill to increase circulation or a Power Plate, a vibration platform, to activate muscle contractions which enhance overall performance during workout sessions.

Next time you hit the gym or try a home fitness routine, take the extra 10-20 minutes to perform a proper warmup and cool-down. Make sure it’s on your list of healthy habits.

For more information about Cooper Fitness Center, click here or call 972.233.4832.