It is very important to warm up the body before exercising. This aids the performer in preparing physiologically and psychologically for exercise, reducing the chance of joint and muscle injury.
Warm up exercises prepare the body for exercising by increasing the blood flow to the muscles allowing them to loosen up, which can raise the flow of oxygen to the muscle cells. Doing this gradually increases the body's temperature. This then increases the speed and force of muscular contractions, because nerve impulses travel faster at higher body temperatures, and muscles become less stiff or more pliable.
The cool down period of an exercise session is just as important as the warm up. The aim is to decrease the intensity of the aerobic session and to return the body to a state of rest.
The cooling down has the effect of:
• preventing blood pooling, returning the blood back to the heart rather than allowing it to pool in the muscles that have been worked
• bringing the heart rate back down, gradually
• preventing fainting by ensuring that the brain continues to receive a sufficient supply of blood and oxygen
• reducing the blood lactic acid levels
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