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Lack of time or over enthusiasm about jumping into an intense workout often prompt people to skip warming up and cooling phases in an exercise routine. Skipping these phases usually increases your risk of sports / exercise injuries such as sprains, muscle / ligament tear etc. So what exactly are warming up and cooling down and why are they so necessary?


Warming up is the process of readying your body for intense exercise. There is a big difference between your body's condition during exercise and when it is normal. When you exercise your heart beats faster, your muscles are being strained and your body temperature increases. Through warm up you prepare your body for this change. Warming up your body through stretching and light exercises reduces the stiffness in muscles. Without a warm up your muscles are still cold and hence, there is a higher risk of muscle injury if they are pushed into vigorous action, also they are likely to be fatigued soon. By increasing your body temperature, warm up sets in to action processes associated with exercise metabolism. Warm up also prepares your cardiovascular system for strenuous activity so that there is not much stress on the heart. As your body is now well prepared, apart from reducing the risk of injuries you will also get better results from your work out.

Warming Up

  • Light exercises and stretching. Usually nature of warm up exercises depends on your type of activity and intensity so it's best to follow your trainer's / instructors advice on the same.
  • Should last for at least 10-15 minutes.
  • It should increase your body temperature by about two degree Celsius, increase your heart beat slightly and should cause a little perspiration.
  • Don't warm up too much or you will have little energy left for the main work out.

Cooling down is the process of allowing your body to return to its normal state after exercising, by gradually slowing down activity. During exercise your body and muscles undergo a lot of strain and stretching and waste products build up inside the body. When you are exercising, your heart pumps more blood to your working muscles. These muscles absorb oxygen and nutrients from the blood and through their force push back the used blood to the heart for reoxygenation. When you suddenly stop exercising, the force that pushes the blood back to the heart also stops and hence blood and waste products like lactic acid remain trapped in your muscles. This can cause muscle soreness, swelling and pain. No cooling or improper cooling down is the main reason why many people experience pain and soreness a day after they exercise. Dizziness and nausea are also common symptoms of improper cool down.

Cooling down by gently exercising, breathing easily and re-fuelling your body helps to keep the blood circulating and removes waste products. It is important to repair and replenish your body before you begin your normal activity so that the strain is released and the transition is smoother.

Cooling down

  • Stretching and gentle aerobic activity
  • Should last for 10-15 minutes
  • Relaxed breathing so that your body and muscles ease and heart rate begins to settle
  • Re-fuelling your body with water / fruit juice / sports drink / fruits

To get maximum benefit out of your sports activity / workout, always back it up with good warm up and follow it up with a relaxed cooling down session.


Health Initiative from KS Oils