Bookmark Website  | Free Registration  | The Team
The Lounge  | Champions  | The Wire |  Schedule |  Audio  |  Arcade  |  The Top Ten  |  Historical  |  Email  |  Video

Warming Up Properly


In our 'Stretching' article series (http://optimumlife.co.nz/Fitness%20Articles/Stretching/Stretching1.htm), we discussed why it's important to stretch as part of your workout. We also touched on the importance of warming up before even *thinking* about stretching. Since that article, I've had a couple of questions about warming up, so it seemed like a good topic for this week's Optimum Fitness News.

When fitness experts talk about 'doing a warm up', they generally mean doing some kind of general activity that gradually raises the heart rate. They will happily tell us that doing so reduces the risk of injury during the following workout - but don't often explain exactly how. In fact, a good warm-up should involve more than just this 'general activity'. The second, less commonly described aspect is the 'dynamic stretching' we mentioned in last week's article. And there are many more reasons to warm up than simple injury risk reduction

WHY WARM UP?
When you start moving in any way that raises your heart rate, certain changes start to take place in your body. Your respiratory rate increases. Bloodflow throughout your body increases, which means that the levels of oxygen and nutrients that are delivered to your cells also increase. In effect, all your body's systems are warned you're going to be making demands on them, and primed to meet those demands.

Once you're at this point, you're ready to move onto dynamic stretching. This, you'll remember, involves slowly performing the same kinds of movements you'll be making in your workout, and gradually increasing the speed. As specific muscles, tendons and joints follow the movement patterns they'll be expected to complete later, they become used to the movement, and less likely to tear when the movements are made at higher speeds. This stage also works as a cue for your nervous system to 'switch on' the specific neuro-muscular connections it will need for those movement patterns.

Lastly, this two-stage warm-up helps you to prepare you mentally for the coming workout. Regardless of what that workout might be, you'll do it better, and enjoy it more, if you're able to bring your full focus into it. By taking the time to warm up before you start exercising 'for real', you're giving yourself the mental space to switch your focus to where you need it to be.

HOW SHOULD I WARM UP?
The general part of the warm-up can be done in any way that gets your heart beating faster. If you have a piece of cardio equipment available- a bicycle, rowing machine, or stepper - feel free to use it; or simply walk and then jog. Whatever you use, start very gently, and gradually increase the intensity until you can feel your body getting warm, and your heart rate starting to rise. The specific intensity will depend on your current fitness level - but it should have you working at a level where you're energised, not exhausted.

Some people continue until they feel a light sweat, but because this can be more reflective of humidity than body temperature (and because some people sweat more easily than others), it may not be the most useful measure. Experts suggest 3-5 minutes, but if your exercise environment is particularly cold, it may need to be longer.

Once you're feeling warm, it's time to bring in the dynamic stretching. What you do here will depend totally on what kind of exercise you're planning. For a martial art, it might involve light sparring at speed, or simply performing some of the techniques in slow motion. For a sport, it could involve mimicking the same kinds of movements you'll be using on the field or court, in a slow, controlled way. There are no specific time guidelines for how long this should take - but allow enough time for repeating each movement, starting slowly and gradually increasing the speed until you're working at the level you expect during your workout

Finally, once you're warm, stay warm. Especially if the workout that follows will be particularly vigorous, don't stop to do a static stretching routine. This will give your body a chance to cool down again, and undo much of the good you've done by warming it up in the first place. If you have any questions about either kind of warm up mentioned in this article, please don't hesitate to e-mail me on tanja@optimumlife.co.nz. Otherwise, may every day bring you closer to your Optimum Life.

Copyright 2005 Tanja Gardner

Optimum Life's Tanja Gardner is a Personal Trainer and Stress Management Coach whose articles on holistic health and relaxation have appeared in various media since 1999. Optimum Life is dedicated to providing fitness and stress management services to help clients all over the world achieve their optimum lives. To find out more about how you could benefit from online personal training, please visit http://www.trainerforce.com/optimumlife/ . To find out more about holistic fitness and stress management please visit http://optimumlife.co.nz, or contact Tanja on tanja@optimumlife.co.nz.


MORE RESOURCES:

New York Times (blog)

Ask Well: Exercise and Weight Loss
New York Times (blog)
Minute for minute, you will expend more energy and therefore burn more calories if you exercise intensely rather than moderately. In other words, running for 30 minutes uses more calories than walking for that same half hour. I suspect, though, that ...



New York Times

For Those Stuck in the Terminal, an Opportunity to Exercise
New York Times
PHILADELPHIA — Dana Donofree had half an hour to wait for her flight to Atlanta and decided to use the time by working out — in a terminal at Philadelphia International Airport. Sitting on an exercise bike in Terminal D on a recent morning, Ms ...
For Passengers Stuck in the Terminal, an Opportunity to ExerciseNDTV

all 2 news articles »


ABC News

Why 6 Seconds of Exercise Can Be as Worthwhile as 90 Minutes
ABC News
It's possible these results might translate to younger folks, said Michele Olson, an exercise science professor and researcher at Auburn University in Alabama. “Even a little activity can increase the efficiency of your heart and lead to more energy ...

and more »


The Real Danger of 'Too Much Exercise'
Huffington Post
The idea that extreme endurance exercise (e.g., exercising over an hour a day, racing multiple marathons in a lifetime, participating in Ironman distance triathlons) might be harmful for long-term heart health has gained traction in recent years. While ...

and more »


Extra Exercise Could Help Depressed Smokers Quit
WebMD
For the study, published recently in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, the researchers said they examined quit-smoking programs for people with depression, looking for the effect of exercise against relapse and on withdrawal symptoms. They also reviewed ...

and more »


BBC News

Six seconds of exercise 'can transform health'
BBC News
Short six-second bursts of vigorous exercise have the potential to transform the health of elderly people, say researchers in Scotland. A pilot study involving 12 pensioners showed going all-out in very short bursts, reduced blood pressure and improved ...
How Two Minutes of Exercise Could Keep You Healthy in Old AgeCare2.com
Exercise Not Just For The Youth; Short High-Intensity Workouts Can 'Transform ...Medical Daily
Two minutes exercise a week can beat ageingExpress.co.uk
Investorplace.com -Independent Online -Newser
all 59 news articles »


HEALTH AND FITNESS: Exercise makes you healthy and happy
Aiken Standard
These positive effects of exercise have been demonstrated in clinical research as well as in surveys. Controlled studies are considered the standard for understanding the beneficial effects of exercise, but population-based surveys are also important.

and more »


You Can Now Exercise While Waiting for Your Flight at PHL
Philadelphia Magazine (blog)
In a gym that's been moving around the terminals this summer, there are now exercise bikes and elliptical machines! The pilot program is just for the summer, though an airport spokesman says there is an indication the bikes could become a permanent ...



Hospital boot camp makes exercise fun for kids
The San Luis Obispo Tribune
Memorial West's class is one of several programs offered through hospitals to help children stay healthy through exercise and proper eating. While Memorial's program is specifically geared toward keeping children active, both the University of Miami ...

and more »


Project Louise: 6 Ways To Look Forward To Exercising
WBUR
“I have people scour their calendars and look for how they're actually spending their time and find buckets of time where they're not doing anything that's really value added, and schedule an exercise or whatever your other priority is into that moment ...


Google News


Advertisement



Section Site Map - Submit News - Feedback - Comments - Advertise with Us

Copyright 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.