Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Warm Ups, Cool Downs, and Stretches

Welcome to a new feature of my blog! I will do this any time I have a question to ask, just like my Saturday Shopper feature. My Saturday questions will continue to focus specifically on fitness-related products, while my Tuesday questions will be more about techniques, methods, etc. I hope you will give me some good feedback!

My first question is what do you do to warm up before swimming or running? What do you do to cool down after either of those? And how much do you incorporate stretching into warming up, cooling down, or other parts of your workouts?

I don't really warm up before I swim. I get into the pool, do one slow lap with a kick board, do a couple of short stretches in the water, and then jump right into swimming laps. Every so often I do a little stretching between laps. When I'm done swimming, I do a couple more short stretches in the water, and then go soak in the hot tub for ten minutes.

When I run, I start with a few short stretches, and then I walk for five minutes before running. I do not stop during the run to stretch. When I'm done, I walk at least another five minutes, sometimes longer, to cool down, and then finish up with some longer, deeper stretches.

I feel like I'm probably not stretching quite as much as I should be, but I just don't have the patience for it! Before I work out, I'm anxious to get started, and then when I'm done I'm just DONE. But I also sometimes wonder if inadequate stretching has been a factor in my past injuries.

So please tell me what you do, and also whether your routine has changed over time and if so, why. I can't wait to hear your tips!

1 comment:

  1. Any amount of stretching is beneficial, especially when you focus on the core muscle groups that you are using for those exercises. With swimming and running, hamstring stretches and quad stretches would be the most basic. In general focus on deep breathing while doing the stretch, maintain the stretch for at least a 10 count, and try not to bounce. The act of stretching actually warms up the muscles. And it doesn't hurt to try to push your flexibility. Don't settle for stretching to the same point every time. Try to reach a little farther each day.