With any type of exercise it is extremely important to warm up before you begin exercising. What many people sometimes forget is that taking the time to cool down and stretch is also important. This will help reduce your risk of developing cramps or sore muscles afterwards.
Why Warm Up and Cool Down?
The whole purpose of warming up is to get your body ready for your exercise routine. You are starting off slowly with low impact exercises before increasing your intensity level.
Warming up slowly allows your body temperature to gradually increase. Plus you are increasing the blood flow to all of your muscles.
Cooling down allows your body to start going back into a more relaxed state at a slower pace. Suddenly stopping a high intensity workout can lead to muscle strains and cramps. To avoid this ease your body temperature down slowly before coming to a full stop.
An effective cool down involves decreasing your pace over a period of around 10 minutes. Then this is followed by some leg and arm stretches.
Warming Up Exercises
A good way to start warming up is to move your larger muscle groups, your arms and legs. Performing simple windmills with your arms is a wonderful way to warm up. They are quick and easy to do and you can feel your heart rate increasing quickly.
Another quick exercise is to do waist twists for a minute or two. After this try bending your knees slightly and moving your hips around in a circle. Then keep your hips still and move your knees in the same circle.
Warming up should be done for 5 to 10 minutes. Even walking or jogging in place for five minutes is a good warm up. Other warming up exercises include using a skipping rope and walking up and down a flight of stairs a few times.
Cooling Down Exercises
The best way to start cooling down on your elliptical is to decrease your resistance level and your speed. Don’t stop abruptly, just reduce your pace and allow your breathing to return to normal. Continue this for around 10 minutes or until you feel comfortable.
Exercising on an elliptical trainer involves your lower muscle groups. So it is important to stretch these muscles out.
An effective leg stretch involves placing one leg out in front of you and then bending your upper body forwards. Hold for about 15 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.
You can do the same exercise by placing your leg in a backwards position. Again hold and repeat.
For your arms you can simply hold one arm at the elbow and bring it across your body, holding for 10 seconds. Reaching your arms above your head is another nice way to stretch. If your neck area feels stiff then perform some neck circles in different directions.
By taking the time to warm up and cool down you will derive more pleasure from each workout on your elliptical trainer. Plus you will substantially decrease your risk of suffering from any major injury or muscle strain.
So go enjoy your workout and have fun burning those calories!