Whether it is performed prior to athletic activities or physically demanding work, a proper warm-up can be beneficial to improve performance and decrease injury rates. Most warm-up sessions will include a progression of cardiovascular exercises and stretching.
Cardiovascular exercises such as jogging increase circulation, increase body temperature and raise heart rate. At rest your body produces a low 15- to 20-percent of blood flow to your skeletal muscles. Most of the small blood vessels (capillaries) within those muscles are closed. After 10 to 12 minutes of warm-up cardiovascular exercise, blood flow to the skeletal muscles increases up to 70 to 75 percent and the capillaries open. This increased blood flow leads to an increase in muscle temperature. Increased muscle temperature contributes to faster muscle contraction and relaxation. Nerve transmission and muscle metabolism increases meaning muscles work more efficiently.
Stretching prior to activity prepares the muscles, joints and tendons for the movements they will be required to carry out during the activity. There are two main categories of stretching:
Dynamic stretching is a form of active movement that takes your body through ranges of motion that will better prepare you for your work or sporting activity.
Static stretching involves holding a stretch for a period of time. Research suggests that static stretches should be held for at least 20-30 seconds to achieve an increase in length of soft tissue.
A good warm-up should focus on using dynamic stretches as opposed to static stretching which may be more beneficial in increasing general flexibility.
Here are 5 of my preferred simple dynamic warm-up activities to include in your warm-up:
1. Glute stretch
2. Hamstring stretch
3. Lunge and twist
4. Arm circles
5. Arm swings
Dustin Eslinger, MA, ATC
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.
PTC_therapy April 11th, 2018
Posted In: General
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