We’re all doing our best to stay healthy and safe during the COVID-19 crisis, remaining in our homes and practicing good hygiene and social distancing. This change in circumstances hasn’t negated our need to move, though. In fact, exercise is more crucial now than ever before, as a way to relieve stress and keep our bodies strong.

At Kennedy Fitness: A Jefferson Health Affiliate, although we’ve had to temporarily close our fitness facilities in New Jersey, we want to do everything we can to facilitate at-home workouts for all our members and their families. That includes preventing injury! We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to warm up and cool down properly, especially if you’ve been doing a lot of sitting in your home office or on your living room couch.

Jumping straight into an intense workout from a sedentary position is asking for trouble. Similarly, going straight from a workout back to your desk to hunch over a computer is a recipe for stiffness and soreness.

First, let’s focus on what constitutes a good warm-up. 

Contrary to what you might think, static stretching is not the best way to prepare your body for movement; it’s actually better for the cool-down portion of your workout. A dynamic warm-up routine, as illustrated in this infographic, will help you get the most out of your workout while protecting your body from injury.

Once you’ve warmed up, worked out, and you’re feeling great, you’re not done yet! Cooling down is an often-overlooked but very important part of a good fitness regimen. 

A cool-down brings your heart rate back to normal, slows your breathing, and helps you return to a relaxed state of mind so you can tackle the rest of your day with a clear head. It also helps to minimize Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), prevent lactic acid buildup, and promote recovery.

Take a few minutes to “walk it out,” or pedal a stationary bike (if you have one) at the end of a workout, then spend about 10 minutes stretching before jumping in the shower and commencing with regular life. While cooling down, stay mindful of your breath and revel in the sense of accomplishment that comes with a good workout!

Proper warm-ups and cool-downs are an integral part of our workout classes in Mt. Laurel and our other six locations, but just because you can’t physically attend those classes right now does not mean you can’t reap all the same benefits. Kennedy Fitness is currently offering virtual workout sessions on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and you can keep checking our blog for helpful at-home workout tips throughout the COVID-19 crisis! We hope you’re all staying healthy, safe — and fit — during these uncertain times.