Confusion exists about the benefits of doing a 'warm up' & 'cool down' around activity. Elias Tomaras, an exercise physiologist at the University of Calgary tells us recent research suggests that too long a warm-up can actually sap your energy and lessen your performance. As your body temperature rises, there is an increase in neural conduction velocity, the speed of which you're transmitting impulses down your nerves. The body's enzymes also cycle faster, meaning the body can process energy faster. Muscles become less stiff as they get warmer. Dr. David Behm, associate director of graduate studies and research at Memorial University's school of human kinetics and recreation, suggests you want to raise your body temperature one or two degrees celsius. More than that and things start to go wrong. Enzymes start to break down and rather than processing energy faster, the body will actually begin to lose energy.
How much is too much? Research is now indicating a shorter, lower intensity warm up is more effective than a longer, higher intensity one. This research was done only on activities that require short bursts of activities and it's principles don't necessarily apply to marathon runners, for instance.
Warm up, according to Dr. Behm, should include 3 things:
- raise body temperature (shorter time required on hot training days!)
- a sport specific action
The key here being you are waking up your neuromuscular communication preparing your body for the activity.
So, don't over look the benefits of a warm up and
Rise Up, Be Healthy!