Are there any specific warm-up and cool-down exercises that should be done before and after my gym workouts?

Warm up just before starting your workout. In general, warm up by focusing first on large muscle groups, such as the hamstrings. Then you can do exercises that are more specific to your sport or activity, if needed. Work from feet to neck using dynamic stretches.

Put your toes on the floor and create circles with your feet, warming your ankles in both directions. You can do cool-down exercises at the end of your workout so you don't do strenuous activities. Cooling down exercises and stretching reduce the chance of injury, promote blood flow, and reduce strain on the heart and other muscles. Stretching before and after exercise is important.

The two stretching sessions serve different purposes and therefore consist of very different movements. Experts recommend dynamic stretching before a workout and static stretching after a workout. Static stretching involves stretches that are held for a period of time, usually between 10 and 60 seconds, depending on capacity. Unlike dynamic stretches, static stretches are immobile and don't involve any movement.

We recommend that you try some of the following stretches in your post-workout routine. You don't need to stretch all your muscles, but you should stretch muscles that are tense due to training or daily posture. As you stretch, you should feel a slight pull with a little discomfort, but not pain. If you can, hold each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds.

Are you ready to set fitness goals but don't know where to start? Our licensed physical therapists can create a personalized exercise plan to help you achieve your goals and conquer the new year. Take the first step by visiting one of our more than 850 clinics across the country or book a virtual appointment with CONNECT.

Nikki Seeley
Nikki Seeley

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