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 ¼ 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:

The Guardian

Exercise is not a lifestyle statement so why spend a fortune on sportswear?
The Guardian
The theory behind expensive exercise clothes is that if you know you look good in them, you'll exercise more. But speaking as someone who is lucky enough to be able to exercise occasionally, I can tell you that this is gold-plated nonsense. People ...



NBCNews.com

10 Die in F-16 Fighter Jet Crash During NATO Exercise in Spain
NBCNews.com
A Greek F-6 fighter jet crashed during a NATO exercise in Spain on Monday, killing 10 people and wounding at least 21, including as many as six American service members who suffered minor injuries. The crash happened shortly after takeoff from Los ...
Greek F-16 crashes in Spain during NATO exercise, killing 11CNN International
Greek fighter jet crashes in Spain during NATO exerciseNew York Daily News

all 748 news articles »


How One Woman Overcame Her Exercise Addiction
Shape Magazine
I can trace the roots of my exercise addiction back to the first time I snuck off to my room to do jumping jacks, lunges, burpees—anything that would up my heart rate and help me take control of my body. It started after my parents sent me, at 13, to ...



Tech Times

Pre-breakfast Exercise More Effective for Weight Loss, Helps Burn More Fat: Study
Tech Times
The study involved healthy young men who were divided in three different groups with different exercise routines. All the participants were asked to consume a diet that comprised about 30 percent additional calories and around 50 percent extra fat than ...
Pre-breakfast exercise helps with weight loss and insulin resistance, study findsSydney Morning Herald
Exercising before breakfast promotes weight loss, minimizes insulin resistancehelpmeoutDOC News - A consistent flow of medical news
Pre-breakfast exercise helps with weight loss and insulin resistanceStuff.co.nz

all 7 news articles »


The State

Balancing Act: Even fitness gurus struggle to find time for exercise
The State
In January, millions of us made resolutions to eat better and exercise more. A friend who recently began waking up an hour earlier to hit the gym before work enviously declared, "Fitness instructors have it great because exercise is their jobs." Her ...

and more »


Overrated Exercises, And The Moves You Should Do Instead
Huffington Post
No doubt, any exercise is better than no exercise at all. Click Here to see the Complete List of Overrated Exercises, And The Moves You Should Do Instead. So, while it's silly to say that an exercise is "useless," it's not unfair to say that some ...



Care2.com

Too much sitting may have some serious health effects — even if you exercise
Washington Post
People who sit too much every day are at an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and shorter life spans, even if they exercise, a new study finds. “More than one-half of an average person's day is spent being sedentary — sitting, watching ...
Sitting can be deadly, even if you exercise regularlyAMERICAblog (blog)
No, Health Experts Didn't Just Say 20 Minutes of Exercise is 'Enough'Care2.com
Sitting will kill you, even if you exerciseKBZK Bozeman News
News24 Nigeria
all 17 news articles »


Exercise for good heart health
Toledo Blade
Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, regulate your blood pressure, keep your cholesterol levels healthy, and help you manage other medical conditions, such as diabetes (another major risk factor for heart disease). The good news is ...

and more »


The power of exercise for Parkinson's disease
myfox8.com
HIGH POINT, N.C. — Research has shown that increased intensity, duration and frequency of activity/exercise can significantly improve function and mobility for Parkinson's disease patients. Specifically, high intensity, progressive aerobic activity ...
Two studies shows exercise improves symptoms of Parkinsons and also helps ...Next Big Future

all 2 news articles »


MassLive.com

Winter Storm Juno puts kibosh on NORAD training exercise over Springfield
MassLive.com
The exercise, called Amalgam Mute, was supposed to involve fighter jets flying are relatively low altitudes to intercept a target aircraft. NORAD had sent out an alert to area media to advise people not to be alarmed by the sound of fighter jets overhead.


Google News


Advertisement



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

Copyright © 2006 Luminati Inc. All rights reserved.