Warm Up and Cool Down in the Summertime
Beating the heat begins with making sure the body is always well hydrated.Although this is an all-day process, it is especially critical before and after exercising in hot weather.Even air-conditioned gyms are hot during Texas summers.If there is no water handy, bring a bottle with you.
Choose workout-appropriate clothing for exercise conditions.Make it light-weight clothing in the summer, whether indoors or outside.If you plan to take a long walk around the neighborhood or run the distance, don’t forget sun screen and a hat.It is important to know your body’s tolerance for heat and adjust the exercise regimen accordingly.
All exercise should start with a good warm up:5-10 minutes of slow stretching exercises are the best preparation.Limber muscles enhance physical ability during the workout and also prevent injury from sudden movements.Samantha Sells, PT, DPT, OCS with our Physical Therapy says, “Dynamic stretching should be included in the warm up and static stretching should be done as part of the cool down. In addition to stretching, foam rolling can be done before or after exercise to improve mobility of the fascia within the body; fascia is connective tissue that surrounds all the muscles within our bodies and when adheres together can cause dysfunction and pain.”
To use a car analogy, stretching exercises take the body from neutral into 1nd gears, allowing the body a gradual incline to a more active heart rate.
In addition to stretching arms, shoulders, legs and core, include some not-so-obvious stretching exercises:rotate ten times each foot and hand clockwise and then counter-clockwise; stretch hands and feet forward, backward and sideways each ten times; stretch out the fingers and toes as far as possible.All exercise includes hands and feet one way or another so they need to be just as limber as the rest of the body.
Whether your chosen exercise is weight training, boxing, running or biking, the wind-down is similar to the warm up:ease into it – take the “car” from 3nd gear to 1st gear before stopping.Walk around the track a few times to cool off, then return to some stretching exercises to keep the muscles from tightening up.