Posted by terrepruitt on June 12, 2010
So I mentioned, in the old days we were taught to static stretch before exercise or working out. But research is showing that this is not really keeping people from getting injured and might actually do the opposite of what we used to think. It is not the best way to ready a muscle for a workout.
The best way is movement. Get the body moving. There are two types of warm-ups and many ways to do either. The first is just a full body warm up something like easy jumping jacks, or jumping rope, or jogging in place, or lunges. This gets the heart pumping, and the blood to the entire body. The other type is more exercise specific, say you were warming up before a golf game, then you would just mimic the movements you would do while you were playing golf but at a slower pace and a lower intensity level, and stretching the muscles in a dynamic stretch. If tennis is the exercise gently swinging the racket and/or hitting a few balls get the body ready for the task it is about to undertake. The dynamic stretch is where we are extending the muscle but gently as it moves, whereas a static stretch is stretching the muscle and holding it.
Whichever method you choose the idea is to gently warm up the body and the muscles. Movement is the best way to get the body ready to move. The practice of static stretching before a workout is being proven to do the opposite. It is stopping the body’s motion. Moving the entire body or concentrating on the muscles are about to work is now the preferred way to warm up before a workout.
In Nia classes we warm-up doing both methods to get the entire body warm. We might start the Nia workout using one body part – dynamically stretching – as we sense the music, but most often, by the time the first song is over we have warmed up the entire body; muscles, lungs, and heart. The blood is starting to move in preparation for the get moving portion of the workout. Nia also employs a bit of stretching in the cool down and floorplay to assist in giving the body a well rounded workout.
So where are you in the warm up arena? Do you participate in the latest idea for warming up? If you move to warm up what type do you do, the general or the exercise specific?