Welcome to the first instalment of our new monthly feature ‘Ask The Physiotherapy Partners’. The concept is simple – send us your physiotherapy questions by emailing us at ask@thephysiotherapypartners.co.uk, and each month we’ll pick one to answer!

Our question this month:

“What’s the point of warming up and cooling down?”

One of the most common causes of exercise-related injury is not warming up or cooling down properly. ¬†Even if you’re short on time, adding a few minutes of warm up and cool down time is vital to make sure you get the most out of your workout and don’t do any damage to your body. ¬†Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t scrimp on this important part of your exercise routing…

Warming up…
…prepares your muscles for the forthcoming additional workload by increasing blood flow
…gradually gets your heart ready for the increased level of activity
…reduces the risk of damage to your body by allowing you a greater range of motion
…safely increases your breathing so you don’t become out of breath too quickly
…mentally prepares you for the exercise you’re about to perform

Cooling down…
…gradually decreases your heart rate, bringing it safely back down to its pre-workout rhythm
…reduces the risk of blood pooling, which can lead to dizziness and cramps
…lets the body dissipate lactic acid and other waste products, reducing the risk of soreness
…prevents injury by improving flexibility through static stretching
…allows you to reflect on your workout and relax

It’s vital you make time to warm up and cool down properly, otherwise you may end up doing more damage than good.

If you have a question for The Physiotherapy Partners team, send us an email at ask@thephysiotherapypartners.co.uk and you may see your answer here next month!