ALTHOUGH MOST of us can agree that exercise is essential for healthy living, few of us can agree on the meaning of exercise. To some it means nothing, to others everything — and then there is every grade in between. In America, exercise means anything the media wants, and the media follow the dollars. You can’t Warm-ups artwork 2 - drawing by Bonnie Pruddenturn on your TV without seeing some oak type person lifting weights as the voice over says, “All you need is $49.95 a month to look like this.” Or you can view some smiling and sweating beautiful body performing repetitious movements on a bike, walking machine, stair machine, or whatever the latest gadget is.

What you have to realize is that those bodies didn’t get that way from using the machine for 30 days: they are models. Note the definitions of the word “model” below.

  • Cambridge English Dictionary: “…what is model: something that a copy can be based on because it is an extremely good example…”
  • The Free Dictionary: “One serving as an example to be imitated…”

Warm-ups artwork 5 - drawing by Bonnie PruddenThe next time you watch one of these TV ads take note of this fact. There is no mention of: Warm-up, Repetitive movement, Full range of motion, Stretch, Injury, or boredom.

If you, as a neophyte, were to begin using the machines as shown in the TV ad, you would be hurt long before the first trial run of 30 days was over. Most ads show how to abuse the body, not how to build it sensibly.

Caution
Repetitive Movement leads to injury. Limited range of movement leads to more limited range of movement, which leads to injury. Stretch before warm-up leads to injury. Boredom leads to nothing.

Coordination
Strength plus flexibility in the proper timing and intensity yield coordination. Just watch Roger Federer. He is a perfect example of the results of proper training.

When you have finished this article, click here to Warm-up along with me.

Warm-ups artwork 1 - drawing by Bonnie PruddenWarm-Up
Warm muscles are 20% safer from injury such as muscle strains.

Warm muscles are 20% more efficient than cold muscles. If you wish to turn in a better performance / score and without injury, warm-up.

But like the word exercise, warm-up means different things to different people.

Warm-ups artwork 4 - drawing by Bonnie PruddenA true warm-up is designed to get the heart pumping, distribute blood to the extremities and prepare the body / muscles to work harder.

A safe warm up should consist of rhythmic reaching, twisting and bending exercises. The feet should stay on the ground.

A warm-up IS NOT jogging lightly, dribbling lightly, skating lightly, or strolling on the treadmill. It IS NOT jumping jacks or jumping rope. These are spike activities and should be reserved for AFTER a thorough warm-up. A warm-up IS NOT stretching. It IS NOT static stretch or ballistic / dynamic stretch. Rhythmic / ballistic stretch has long been used by both gymnasts and dancers because it gets faster results than static stretch, which sets up tension in the all too often already tight muscle. Any stretch should come AFTER your workout when the muscles are thoroughly warm, pliable and ready to work with and for you.

Warm-ups artwork 4 - drawing by Bonnie PruddenThe Feet
Unlike the head – unless you are a cap wearer – the feet are enclosed, unseen. They are, however, part of your body and they have many layers of muscles. Strong, pain-free feet take you where you want to go and are a sort of insurance that you will remain independent. Feet in shoes are like a hoof. The muscles do not get fully exercised. To keep your feet strong and healthy, get your bare feet on and walk the trail, beach, grass or, if nothing else, around the house. And be sure to include them in your warm-up along with the rest of you.

Change, Challenge and Rhythm
To get the most out of your warm-up AND your work-out, combine change, challenge and rhythm.

  • CHANGE the exercise every 20 seconds to work another muscle group. This allows recovery and variety; and means that you can work longer without strain and without being sore the next day.
  • CHALLENGE yourself by working a bit harder the next time. This can be done by adding more exercises, changing the music or working longer.
  • RHYTHMIC movements to music make the exercise more fun, assure that the movement has a beginning and an end (better form) and helps to make the movement more uniform even if one side is stronger than the other.

Warm-up properly and enjoy a sensible, pain-free workout.

For additional exercises that will add challenge and variety to your program safely, including your feet, check out Bonnie’s books.

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For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit www.bonnieprudden.com. Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help. Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®