In order to prevent your chances of injury and to prepare your body for exercise it is important you warm up. The main purpose of warming up is to increase your heart rate slightly. This has two benefits; it raises your core body temperatur and it increases the blood (oxygen) flow to your muscles to prepare your body for more vigorous physical activity. Choose a warm up that reflects the workout that will follow. This ensures the right muscles and joints are targeted. Start slow and start to increase intensity gradually. Warming up prepares the body mentally and physically. Warm ups should last approximately 5-10 minutes.
Dynamic stretches should be included as part of the warm up. This is to help lubricate your joints and to take your muscles through their full range of motion. (It is important that dynamic stretches are used as opposed to 'static' stretches which should be left until the end of your workout).
See below for some examples of dynamic stretches...
Cooling down after exercise is just as important in reducing the risk of injury as the warming up process before exercise. Cooling down means gradually slowing down the level of activity.
The major purpose of warming up is to prepare the body and mind for rigorous activity, whereas that of cooling down is to assist in recovery and to bring the body back to a pre-exercise or pre-workout state. 5 minutes on an exercise bike or running machine is often enough to return the heart rate back to normal.
Static stretching is used to stretch muscles while the body is at rest. After a workout it returns the contracted muscles to their normal length. It can be used to maintain as well as improve flexibilty. It can also help improve posture. Maintenance stetches should be held for up to 15 seconds and developmental stretches (to improve on flexibility) should be held for 30-45 seconds.
Compete at this years World Firefighter Games
Warm Up / Cool Down
WARNING: Please seek advice from your Doctor before undergoing any exercise recommended on this site.