Warm up for walking and cool down afterwards with these quick and easy tips. It is an important part of any exercise routine to prevent injury and improve flexibility.
Why Warm Up?
There are many benefits to warming up, which include:
1. Raises your heart rate in preparation for exercise.
2. Warms your muscles and makes them more pliable and flexible.
3. Helps burn calories more efficiently and quickly.
4. Prepares your body for activity by increasing oxygen flow to the muscles and throughout the body as well as increasing your blood flow.
How to Warm Up
Slowly walk or march in place for 5 – 10 minutes until you feel warm and your breathing has become a little quicker than normal.
That’s it? Yes! Stretching before walking is not necessary. We’ll save stretching for after your walk when your muscles are warm and pliable. Stretching when your muscles are cold can actually increase your changes of injury.
Why Cool Down?
Cooling down after walking will help your heart rate and body temperature to return to normal. Additional benefits are:
1. Allows your blood to return from the muscles you’ve been working to the rest of your body.
2. Improves flexibility.
3. Removes waste products from your muscles (such as lactic acid) to help reduce soreness.
How to Cool Down
At the end of your walk, gradually taper down your speed for 5 to 10 minutes until your breathing has returned to normal and your heart rate is close to its resting rate.
Next, spend 10 minutes completing a stretching routine. Fitness walking will work the major muscle groups in your body, especially in the lower half of your body so it is important to stretch them. Not only will it improve your flexibility, but you will feel great too.
For detailed information on the best stretches to do after a walk, read this article on walking stretches.