Yes you really need to warm up before you start your workout and cool down after you are finished. I know, boo hiss boo. You are all fired up and just want to jump into it. But if you don’t warm up your muscles properly, you really can injure yourself. Then all the hard work you’ve been doing will be for naught. You’ll be injured and either have to modify or think “I’ll just wait to workout until I’m healed.” Neither is really a fun prospect.
Warming up helps to increase blood flow to your muscles and makes them more able to support you and stretch as you work. It also helps to serve as a little mental nudge saying “Hey, we’re about to do work. Wake up!” Think of it as that morning cup of coffee that gets you up and moving (if you drink coffee, personally I think the stuff is vile and have never been one to drink it. LOL) It’s just that little extra oomph to help take your workouts up a notch and gets the body ready for what you’re about to do.
Cooling down and stretching after you’ve done your workout is also vital. It helps to slow your heart rate, redistribute the blood flow to where it should be, and helps prevent cramps later on in the day. All that blood that your vigorous exercise has gotten pumping and flooding those muscles needs to go back to the rest of the body, or it pools in your muscles and can cause cramps later. That is why any good workout video has the cooldown period at the end. It’s so you don’t cramp and continue to stretch out those muscles. You’ve worked hard, let the muscles get a gentle release to relax!
You’re working hard. You’re learning what works for you. You’re changing your life style. You’re changing your mind set. It will take time, but you’re getting there! I’m proud of you, and happy for the successes you’re seeing. *high fives* Keep up the great work!