We all know of the importance to warm up properly before we exercise in order to reduce the risk of injuries, like pulled muscles for example, and a warmed up body will move smother and enjoy the movements without being stopped by stiff muscles or joints. Ever noticed after a long day sitting in the office it takes your body a while to warm-up and get lose? At the beginning your legs and arms might feel heavy and kind of resistant to move, especially to follow faster movements and only after a while you really start to enjoy your workout. Sounds familiar? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
So much for the importance of a good warm-up, but what about the cool down? You might feel inclined to skip it and think it is just a waste of time, but it is just as important as the warm-up. A healthy workout should always include a warm-up and cool down. Stopping suddenly won’t do your body well. It is highly advisable to gradually lower the heart rate and blood pressure. If not, you risk getting light headed or even fainting from the sudden drop. So why not enjoy a song with less intense moves and some good stretches? In a Zumba® class you can trust that even this section will be accompanied by great music.
Speaking of stretching, I personally do love stretching, but even if you don’t, think of the benefits for your body before skipping that part of your workout. After you lowered your heart rate a bit is the perfect timing to stretch because your muscles and joints are still warm. Stretching can increase your range of motion and is easy to combine with a few balance improving postures, like standing on one leg while stretching the other leg’s thigh. Furthermore, stretching can reduce the amount of lactic acid in your muscles, which can cause muscles cramping and stiffness.