Warming up and Stretching

Warm up propery and reduce the risk of sports injury.Warming up is a crucial part of any exercise or sports activity. The importance of a structured warm up routine should not be under estimated when it come to prevention of sports injury. Warming up prior to mountain bike ride, or a work out,does a number of benificial things, but it’s main purpose is to prepare the body and mind for a stenuous activity. One of the ways it achieves this is by increasing the body’s core temperature, while also increasing the muscle temperature and thus helps your muscle become loose supple and pliable. This also increases your respiratory rate and heart rate and in turn increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your working mucles,tendons and joints. A primer, if you will.

Here are the key elements that should be included to ensure an effective and complete warm up.
1. A general warm up that includes some light physical activity. Always start slow and easy and increase intensity based on your fitness level. Average time for this is 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Static stretching. This should include all the major muscle groups and again last 5 to 10 minutes. Static stretching is performed by placing the body into a postion whereby the muscle, or group of muscles to be streched is under tension and the opposing muscle is relaxed.

3. Sport specific warm up. During this part of the warm up, more vigorous activity should be employed and should reflect the actions and movements of the sport. Short sprints, wheelies, and bunny hops, come to mind.

4. Dynamic stretching. This type of stretching must be done correctly and you must have the conditioning and flexibility to be suited for this. Dynamic stretching involves a controlled soft bounce or swinging motion to force a particular body part past it’s usual range of motion. This should never be radical or uncontrolled and should really be done under supervision of a professional sports trainer.

All these elements should effectively prepare you for that epic ride. Also take into consideration that warming up and stretching should be done on a daily basis for best results. If you don’t ride or exercise on a daily basis then you should try to incorporate at minimal just the warming up and stretching first thing in the morning. You may also consider a Yoga class and least once or twice a week. You will gain valuable knowledge of your bodies balance and flexible and can apply this to your daily living. As always, if you have questions or would like some advice please feel free to contact me via email or through my website.

Doug Sullivan,RN,CCM,AFAA
Fitness Expert