Warm Up and Cool Down

Your exercise session should include a warm up, an aerobic training period and a cool down.

Warming Up

A warm up includes any light exercise—ideally a light version of your intended exercise. If you are walking, do light walking or if you are swimming, do light swimming. You should warm up for up to 10 minutes, leading up to your intended exercise level. If you get angina when you exercise, you may even want a longer warm up.

Why Warm Up

  • To slowly increase your heart rate to an aerobic level of exercise
  • To prepare your heart and muscles for exercise
  • To reduce symptoms when you exercise
  • To decrease the chance of irregular heartbeats
  • To help prevent injury

Aerobic Exercise Session

Aerobic activities challenge the heart, lungs and muscles to improve their function. Walking, cycling and swimming are just a few examples of aerobic activities you could do. During this session, your heart rate should be elevated or you should feel you are exercising at a moderate intensity or more for a sustained period of time. Ideally, your session should last 30 minutes or longer.

Cooling Down

A cool down should be a similar type of exercise as your warm up, for five to ten minutes, or until your breathing pattern has returned to normal. This is also an ideal time to do some light stretching.

Why Cool Down

  • To gradually slow down your body’s systems, especially your heart rate and blood pressure
  • To help reduce the likelihood of symptoms and irregular heartbeats
  • To help prevent injuries

Aim for 10 minutes of warm up, 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise and 5 to 10 minutes of cool down on most days of the week.