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How To Properly Warm Up!!

Hello Everyone,

Hope you are all doing well.

How to properly warm up?? Now that Spring is here, more people are getting outside to exercise, and our kids are starting up their spring sports. And we are going out into sometimes cold weather to exercise. This poses a problem to our muscles that we intend to use during that exercise. When it is cold out, our bodies try to conserve heat by diminishing blood flow to our skin and muscle and send it to our core, namely the bowels and inner blood vessels and organs. If too much blood was allowed to pass thru the skin that is in contact with the cool air, then that blood will cool down and our body would loose too much heat. The problem is that our muscle are lacking blood flow. Muscle fibers are fairly fragile and when they have an excess of blood flow, there are much more "stretchy and flexible" than when they do not have excess blood flow. When they have diminished blood flow, as in cold weather, they are even more fragile and are subject to ripping, known as a muscle "strain".

When we think of warming up before exercise, many of us think about stretching out the muscle that we plan to use. For example, runners will stand and stretch their leg muscles before a run. If you think about it, if you are in cooler weather, you are now stretching muscles that are not "stretchy" at all, due to diminished blood flow, and could actually cause yourself a muscle strain more easily. So, the proper way would be to make the muscle more "stretchy" before you stretch, so you need to increase blood flow to those muscles first. So how???? A runner may start by walking quickly or jogging gently for 5 minutes to increase blood flow, and then stop and stretch. Jumping jacks are a great way to increase blood flow to all muscle groups before you stretch. Anything that is increasing heart rate, without any resistance to the muscle. Once blood flow has been redirected from the inner blood vessels and organs and to the muscles, then the muscles are now safe to properly stretch, without risk or straining them. Warm muscle are safer, so also dress for the weather during exercise and keep your body warm to reduce the risk of injury. Everyone can strain a muscle, young and old, and it can keep you from performing that exercise or sport that enjoy, so why risk it??

Hope you had a good read.


Dr. Mckim


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