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Do I really need to warm up and cool down?

Updated: Aug 31, 2021

You’re short of time but are desperate to fit a quick workout into your day – it won’t hurt to miss out on the warm-up and cool-down, will it?

Yes, unfortunately it is likely to hurt in the short or long run, and here’s why.

You’ll notice that ALL Gemma Pearce Fitness classes start with a great warm-up and finish with a cool-down stretch, no matter how quick the workout is – as professionals, it’s our responsibility to make sure you stay injury-free and raring to go for the next class.

Why warm up?

It’s important to get your body ready for the exertion to come, whether that’s an online workout, a gym session or a run. A warm-up should get your heart pumping and make you slightly out of breath, so a few low-intensity aerobic exercises are ideal to:

1. Increase flexibility

A light aerobic warm-up raises your body temperature which improves muscle and tendon flexibility. When your muscles are warm they can stretch further and give you more during your exercise. Plus, stiff muscles are more likely to get injured.

2. Increase blood flow

Your muscles will need more oxygen to be reaching them when they’re in full exercise mode so get the heart pumping and the blood moving round your body to get your muscles ready to move.

3. Increase reaction times

A good warm-up also has an effect on the brain, enhancing reaction times and speeding up the communication between nerves and muscles.

Why cool down?

This is all about lowering your body temperature and bringing your heart rate back down to normal levels. Light aerobic activity and stretching are perfect for this job:

1. Reduce heart rate

Getting your heart rate and temperature down after a full-on workout helps to deliver oxygen to the muscles for their recovery. If you stop exercising without cooling down, you risk feeling light-headed and dizzy.

2. Reduce lactic acid

Lactic acid and other chemicals build up in the muscles as they work hard. Getting rid of these as quickly as you can stops your muscles feeling sore after exercise.

3. Reduce cramps

Doing some stretches as part of your cool-down routine improves the range of motion in your joints and relaxes you physically and mentally. Slowing down your breathing and finding a comfortable position to stretch also reduces the chance of muscle cramps.

A good warm-up and cool-down can be simply a short walk and some stretches. We start off slowly with our warm-ups and get a bit faster so that we’re breathing harder, we’re a bit hotter and our heart rate has quickened. We then do the opposite for a cool-down.

Why not come and join us to exercise safely in our fun and friendly online or face-to-face classes? Check out the wide range of exercise styles at

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