Importance of warming up & down

Warming up before cycling

We would like to thank Nuffield health for the support they gave, they ran a warm-up session last year before the cycling event.

The importance of a warm up

Preparing your body for exercise such as a bike ride is important to prevent injury. Warm ups and cool downs for physical activity are almost as important as the activity itself. A good warm up helps dilate the blood vessels ensuring that your muscles are well supplied with oxygen and raises your body and muscle temperature for increased flexibility and efficiency. It also raises your heart rate to bring it up to your starting training rate which minimises stress on your heart when you start.

Just as critically, the cool down after physical activity keeps blood and oxygen flowing to muscles for optimal recovery.

It’s important that you warm up and cool down properly to avoid injury and maximise the benefit, so here are five tips:


    1. Active warm up

This phase aims to elevate body temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, blood flow and joint fluid viscosity via low intensity activities. For example, jogging and star jumps elevate your heart rate.

    1. Mobility drills

Include these in your active warm ups to get a full range of motion in your joints to reduce the risk of injury. These include things like skipping drill, high knees and side step drills.

    1. Heart rate increase

To increase your heart rate in preparation for your training or event, jog for a minute or two and slowly increase your speed. You should feel warm and be sweating lightly. Work to your own level of fitness and capability though.


    1. Cool down

Walk five to ten minutes once you have finished to slowly start bringing your heart rate down to resting and keep your muscles moving so they don’t seize up.

    1. Post-training stretching

Focus on the key muscle groups i.e. quads, hamstrings and calves. Stretch each one for around 30 seconds and repeat two or three times.


About Nuffield Health 

Driven by our purpose to build a healthier nation, our experts have been working together for more than 65 years to make the nation fitter, healthier, happier and stronger.

Nuffield Health provides health and wellbeing for every part of you. We believe that the best healthcare should help prevent illness by looking after mind and body. That’s why our connected health and wellbeing offering spans physical and mental health – from providing mental health support or hospital care and treatment to personal training, health assessments, GP services and physiotherapy.

We work together as a team to help you achieve your health and wellbeing ambitions, championing free health and wellbeing programmes in local communities by giving more people the tools they need to live a healthy life. These programmes help people understand and improve their own health, from those living with joint pain, to helping rehabilitate people experiencing the long-term effects from COVID-19.

Find out more about us and our pioneering models of care:


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