The Importance Of Warmups And Cooldowns

In many of my past blogs I discuss the importance of warming up before an activity and cooling down at the end. Why is this so important?

Warmups allow your body to set itself up for the activity and improve the elasticity of the appropriate muscles to perform effectively. Warmups also are important for increasing your heartrate to get the blood and oxygen flowing through your body.

Think about the difference in your body between a hot day and a cold day. How does your body feel when you are hot? You feel a bit more pliable and able to move, right. But on a cold day, you feel stiff.

Stretching is the first thing people think of as a warmup, but if your body is cold and stiff how will stretching help? If you have a frozen rubber band and you try to stretch it, what happens? It will tear or break. This is the same for muscles.

So you start slowly in a warmup to get the body used to what you are asking it to do. The best warmup simulates the activity you are going to do. If you are going for a walk, for example, start off with slow walking on a level surface, do some weight transferring back and forth between your feet to get the ankles and lower legs activated and used to pushing off in gait. Gradually as you feel your joints and muscles loosen up, you can quicken your pace.

Most people know they should warmup, but don’t understand the appropriate ways to warmup or the time needed to do an effective warmup. If you are still feeling parts of your body are not pliable, keep warming up until your whole body feels ready to move.

Some people say “Why can’t I just go into a steam or hot room?” Well for one, it does not localize your muscles and get them ready to move and two your breathing may be shallower or if you have any heart conditions this can be detrimental. Remember I said you want to increase your blood flow and oxygen throughout your body to allow ease of movement of your muscles. When you are just sitting to “warm up”, your muscles don’t get prepared to move.

Cooldowns are just as important and people like to poopoo them or not spend the time doing a cooldown because you are running off to the next thing. Cooldowns bring your body back to its normal baseline. You no longer need the increased blood and oxygen to your muscles to perform whatever activity you completed. So the cooldown helps in bringing your heartrate down and slowly allowing your body to go back to its resting, balanced state or homeostasis.

Cooldowns allow this to occur quicker so there is a faster recovery time, more rapid reduction of lactic acid, and less muscle soreness. Cooldowns are best after an intense exercise session when your heart is pounding. They give your body time to gradually return to normal rather than abruptly stopping your activity, whether it be running, dancing, or exercising in the gym. Cooldowns are also helpful in mentally easing out of the “high” from the endorphins released in a workout.

So what do you do in a workout? Continuing some low intensity movements to keep your blood flowing without fatiguing, like walking for 10-15 minutes. I usually tell people if you just did a hard workout don’t go and sit down immediately, but “walk it off” so to speak. Work on your deep breathing and yes this is the time you may want to stretch those overworked muscles because now the tissue is pliable enough to move smoothly. Remember dynamic stretches and stretches in 3 dimensions are best. The key word in these suggestions for cooldowns is moving. Do what is comfortable and feels right for your body.

Still not sure or feeling overwhelmed with how to proceed in your workout routine, contact a specialist Physical Therapist who can get you going on an effective routine to enhance your current one and prevent injuries or recurrences of injury. Are you currently having pain that is stopping you from doing what you love, click here to schedule a call to discuss your issues.

To Your Health,


P.S. If you are still not 100%, give us a call at 301-493-9257 to set up a time to discuss the health issues you are having and how we can help you.


Looking for a healthy gift to give to yourself or loved ones?

We offer SAFE PILATES VIDEOS to work on in the comfort of your home. I have created 3 Pilates videos if you are not ready to join a class or can’t find a class that suits your time-frame or you need another day for a workout. These videos you can work on at home and at your own pace. Each exercise is explained thoroughly as to what it is accomplishing and what you should feel. Part I goes over the foundations of Pilates exercises. Part II uses foam rollers and Theraband or weights. Part III teaches more advanced Pilates skills.

Click here for more information on the safe Pilates videos and to watch the short clips.


Many clients feel that the work we have done in Physical Therapy was so effective that after discharge they want to continue the Pilates and strengthening work to continue improving their outcomes to prevent recurrences.

We offer 5 and 10 session individual packages of Pilates/strengthening.


We offer online Physical Therapy sessions. These are the same 1 hour sessions as in clinic. You still get the personal touch. Click here for more information on our telehealth sessions.


We offer a Year of Wellness package for those who would like to have a monthly checkup of their home program to be sure the exercises are still valid and performed correctly or to address any other issues that may arise.

Interested in continuing the work we did or just want to get stronger or be sure you are still on the correct path towards your goals of a fully functional life, give us a call at 301-493-9257 to discuss how we can help you.


A Physical Therapist’s specialty is in observing deviations in your movement patterns to find the root cause of the problem, then effectively treating it with individualized exercises to correct the problem. You will understand what the issue is that is causing the problem and be given effective exercises to do, thereby ensuring that how you move becomes permanent in your muscle memory.

Did you know that Maryland has Direct Access for physical therapy? That means you can see a Physical Therapist without seeing your physician first and getting a prescription. We can evaluate and treat you without a referral. Through the extensive evaluation, if we feel that other issues may be involved that may require you to see your physician, we will refer you back or recommend someone who is appropriate for you.

We invite you to ask about our Free Discovery Call and look forward to assisting you with anything you may need.


This is for those who are still unsure if Physical Therapy is right for them. We offer a 100% Free 20 minute Discovery Call to answer all your questions and see if you are the right fit for our clinic. Space is limited. Call us at: 301-493-9257 or email us at


Live Virtual Pilates/Exercise class: 5 class series for $177 July 20th – August 17th 2022 Wednesdays 12-1 on Zoom

Wellness Rehabilitation Inc.

10410 Kensington Parkway, Suite 11, Kensington, MD 20895