Food for Thought: Warm-up and Cool-down

November 18, 2020

By Mary Parker Draper, Extension Agent – Smith County

Due to time constraints, many people may be eager to jump directly into an exercise routine. However, there are three vital parts to any exercise routine: the warm-ups, the actual exercise, and the cool-downs.

The first step to avoiding injury is to warm-up before exercising. A warm-up increases your body temperature, therefore warming up your muscles. Blood flow and flexibility will increase during a warm-up, and it also helps to lubricate your joints. A good warm-up should raise your heart rate slowly. It should not intensify so quickly that it makes you feel tired. By getting your muscles ready for exercise, your reaction time is improved, and nerve pathways are ready for exercise.

Not only does warming up prepare you physically for exercise, it also prepares you mentally. Warm-ups can be made up of several exercises and stretches. When warming up, you want to choose movements that go along with your exercise routine. Consider walking at a slower pace if you intend to jog or doing weight lifting movements before moving into exercising with the actual weights. Once you warm-up for about 5-10 minutes, you will be ready to move into the actual exercise routine.

Just as it is important to warm-up before exercising, it is also important to cool-down after exercising. The slower pace and reduced intensity exercises allow your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure to gradually return to normal. The cool-down helps your body recover after exercise and lets your blood return to your heart from your muscles. Doing the cool down after exercising reduces the chance of muscle soreness. Cool-downs also help you avoid feeling dizzy or faint afterwards.

Cool-downs can consist of the same exercises and stretches performed in the warm-ups. Stretching out the muscles you used during the exercise will help prepare you for the next time you exercise. After you have cooled down for 5-10 minutes, you will be better prepared to move into another exercise routine.

For more information on fitness opportunities, contact Mary Parker Draper at the Extension Office at 615-735-2900.

Pineapple Crisp

2 (20 oz) cans crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread well-drained pineapple into a 9×9 baking pan. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and egg until smooth. Spoon mixture evenly over pineapple. Pour melted butter over mixture and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 40-45 minutes. Submitted by Linda McDonald, Beasley’s Bend FCE Club.