Friday, March 1, 2013

The Three Phases of Exercise

What Are The Three Phases of Exercise?

Exercise Clipart

Not to be confused with the three types of exercise, but the three phases, or stages, of exercise are important for your workout to help prevent injury and to maximize the results of your workouts.

1. The warm-up 

Your warm-up should consist of some light movements to slowly bring your heart rate up from your resting rate to your active rate. Stretching, or flexibility training, can be used to get started and can be combined with range of motion exercises. These are generally low-impact and you can start out slowly and move faster as you feel your body warming and breathing rate increasing.

A good rule of thumb here is to warm-up and "stretch" the areas of the body you plan to be concentrating on in the main part of your work out. You can also use a low intensity form of your primary work out during your warm-up phase. The idea is not to start your full workout from a cold, or sedentary, condition. You should spend at least 5 minutes performing your warm-up and more time would not be remiss.

2. Exercising or Conditioning

After you have warmed up you will shift into your primary work out mode. Whether you are going to be doing an aerobic (cardio) workout, strength, or flexibility training depends on your workout schedule. Yes, you should have a schedule, some sort of plan to reach your goals. There are plenty of different plan outlines available online designed for differing needs and levels of expertise.

A good 30 to 40 minute workout is in order to maximize your efforts. If you are a beginner, you may want to start with 15 minutes and add 5 minutes a week until you achieve the 30 to 40 minutes time frame. For most people, an hour long work out, including the warm-up and cool-down, is sufficient.

If an hour work out is more than you can comfortably endure, that is okay. Start out slow, with a shorter time and work up to the hour. What ever you do, do not over do it. Hopefully your warm-up will prevent injury when you push yourself.

Depending on your level of commitment and endurance, you may need a few minutes between reps to catch your breath a bit. Once you become conditioned you may be able to transition between sets with very little time at rest.

3.  Cool-down 

It is not a good idea to just stop when you are at the end of your routine. You need to slowly reduce the rate of your exercise activity until your breathing and heart rate are close to your at rest rates. This should be close to the rates you started with before your warm-up.

Without a cool down period your blood may pool in your lower extremities and may cause pain and discomfort. This could also cause a reduction of blood to the brain resulting in light-headedness, or feinting. So be careful you do not end your workout to suddenly.

The ideal cool-down activities would be more of the same from your warm-up. Remember the idea is to gradually decrease your activity so as to bring your heart rate back to normal.


Enjoy your workouts and do not forget the need for a warm-up and a cool-down in each instance. So here's wishing you many enjoyable hours working toward your fitness goals.

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