Warm-Up & Cool-Down Exercises for Cardio Workout
Cardiovascular activities come under high-intensity workouts. You can not jump on the workout straight away. Preparing your body for such an intensive activity is important.
Similarly, when it’s time to close the session you can not just put an end to it. You have to give your body some time to gradually close the workout session. At the begging and at the end of the cardio workout session the exercises are different. These are called warm and cool-down exercises.
Why Are Warm-Up & Cool-Down Exercises Necessary?
Warm-up and cool-down exercises are essential components of any cardio workout. They help prepare your body for exercise, improve performance, and reduce the risk of injury. Here are some examples of warm-up and cool-down exercises specifically tailored for cardio workouts:
What Are Warm-Up Exercises?
Warm-up exercises help your body prepare for the upcoming high-intensity workout session. They help gradually increase the heart rate and reduce the risk of injury. Some popular warm-up exercises are:
- Jogging in place: Start with a light jog, lifting your knees and swinging your arms gently. Gradually increase the intensity as you warm up.
- Jumping jacks: Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides. Jump while spreading your legs and raising your arms overhead. Return to the starting position and repeat.
- High knees: Stand tall and lift your knees towards your chest, one at a time, while jogging in place. Aim to bring your knees as high as possible.
- Arm circles: Extend your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor. Make small circles with your arms, gradually increasing the size of the circles. After a few seconds, reverse the direction.
- Leg swings: Stand next to a wall or support and swing one leg forward and backwards, increasing the range of motion gradually. Switch to the other leg after a set number of swings.
What Are Cool-Down Exercises?
After an intensive workout, your muscles slightly change their positions due to contraction and extreme movement. Cool-down exercises not only brighten them back to their original shape & position but also gradually slows the heart rate. This helps prevent the body ache which occurs after high-intensity exercises. Let’s see some popular cool-down exercises:
- Walking or slow jogging:After your cardio workout, gradually decrease the intensity by walking or slow jogging for a few minutes to allow your heart rate to return to normal.
- Static stretches: Stretch the major muscle groups used during your workout, such as your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and chest. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds without bouncing.
- Deep breathing: Take deep, slow breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. This can help promote relaxation and reduce post-workout tension.
- Shoulder rolls: Roll your shoulders forward and backwards in a circular motion to release tension in your upper body.
- Standing forward bend: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, bend forward at the hips, and let your upper body hang down. Let your arms dangle or grab opposite elbows and relax into the stretch.
Remember to adjust the duration and intensity of your warm-up and cool-down exercises based on your fitness level and the intensity of your cardio workout. It’s always a good idea to start slow. For beginners, I would suggest practising such exercises under professional supervision. Also listen to your body, too intensive exercises aren’t good for your heart. Hence always do what your body can bear.