THIS week I’m giving details about T my warm-up and cool-down routines, plus I’ve got two delicious summer recipes to share with you. My Salmon and Prawn Skewers and Sunburst Salad are perfect for any entertaining you might have planned this weekend or simply as a healthy dinner.
No matter where you are in your fitness journey or what level of training you are at, a warm up and cool down should always be a part of your routine. As a professional athlete, they were key components of any training session I did.
Warming up is important for loads of reasons: it reduces risk of injury, prepares the body and mind for exercise, increases the body’s temperature so muscles are more elastic and can move more efficiently and increases heart rate and directs more blood to the working muscles.
Recently I participated in a 5K run series in Phoenix Park in Dublin. It was amazing to see so many people, of all ages and abilities, moving together with the focus purely on participation and fun. Prior to the race, I led a mass warm up with fitness expert Karl Henry. It was quick but effective. I find it perfect to do this right before a run:
Five minute warm up on the spot:
Jog for one minute High knees for 1 minute Kick your bum for 1 minute
Arms over head and stretch to each side, do it 10 times
Grab your ankle quad stretch, five times each leg
After the race I did my usual cool down. There are loads of benefits to a cool down including gently slowing of the heart rate, increasing blood flow and nutrient delivery to muscles, aiding the disposal of waste products like lactic acid, and aiding recovery and reducing muscle soreness.
My cool down includes both gentle running and stretching. It’s important to stretch as it helps to improve flexibility, range of motion and posture while also relaxing the muscles and returning them to their resting length post workout. I love a good stretch!
10-minute cool down:
Five to seven minutes alternating easy jogging or walking
Three minutes of stretching — target the arms, shoulders, quads, hamstrings and calves
Foam rolling is another great addition to any warm up or cool down routine. It’s a self-massage technique that can help to increase circulation to your muscles and relax any tight muscles to prevent a build up of tension. I tend to aim for two to three times per week at a separate time to my workout and as I love a good chance to multi task I will often do it while watching my favourite TV show or listening to a podcast. My toddler see’s us rolling on the fowm roller so much that even she rolls on it!
Fitspo: My fitspiration for this week is @KaylaItsines. I recently bought her new book The Bikini Body 28Day Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Guide and I really like it.
It’s beautifully laid out and is packed with recipes along with hints and tips on how to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
It also comes with a pullout wall poster with some great workout ideas.