Prepare for Exercise/Sport

by Paula Allia PT, DHSc, MTC, OCS

Exercise is a form of movement that utilizes joints, ligaments, and muscles in combination. These movements create heat and thus burn calories. This information describes the basis for movement.

In physics, work is equal to the amount of force it takes to move an object. This relates to training and lifting weights or using body weight for resistance. Power is the speed or rate of work being done. Work burns calories and produces heat in the body.

If someone is very strong they are probably more likely to be able to produce more power by increasing the workload and being able to drive that force.

Exercising in a sport utilizes the same concepts with the amount of work and power dependent upon the circumstance presented.

What can be done to enhance a workout? There are several considerations. Warmups, stretches, body temperature control, cool down, body reset, and post-exercise stretching should all be considered no matter what the activity or workout is. If it is for general fitness then a well rounded program is good. If for a specific activity like golf, tennis, or pickleball, a warm up followed by specific stretches should be considered.

In exercise, when warming up, the pulse may rise slightly; the blood pumping through the body is all relative to what body parts are being used and how much work and power is being produced. A small warm up of 5-10 minutes can ensure that the heart muscle starts to pump the blood through the body and gives the first inclination on how one feels before they actually start to stress the body itself.

Sometimes a person can get a warning sign that maybe they are not feeling up to par to do a hard workout and thus change their thoughts of what that work should be on that day. This warm up should incorporate most of the body and not just a single body part.

Stretching after a quick warm up is ideal to target muscles specific to the activity going to be performed. This stretching is not prolonged and its purpose is to prime the muscle and get integral parts of the muscle ready for contraction and use. The stretching should cover the range of motion that the arm or leg will endure in the activity. Too small of a stretch is not advised as it could lead to injury as the muscle will not be prepared for proper exertion. This stretching should be of short duration.

Knowing the range that both your joints and muscles have is key to understanding their limitations. Light weights get the body moving but when the body is being more challenged with heavier weights, the blood pumps more, the heart rate rises and the body begins to heat up.

Studies have shown that excessive heat in muscles can cause fatigue and limit work output and power over time. Having the ability to release that heat enhances the endurance in muscles and may perhaps allow another set of reps on an exercise which can in return result in bigger strength and endurance gains over time.

The summer months can get warm. Keeping the muscles from overheating provides the opportunity for a safer and successful exercise session. At a minimum, do these things:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat cooling foods. These foods tend to contain a lot of water. Do an online search to learn which foods you like that are cooling.
  • Consider using a cooling/ice pad on the palm of the hands between exercise bouts. This will send cooler blood to the heart and thus through the body to help keep the muscles from overheating and causing weakness and fatigue.
  • Use a cool towel on the face for cooling.

Injuries occur in sports and training. Post exercise, decompress the joints and muscles with stretching for at least 30 seconds. Perform slow breathing while stretching to assist in relaxation. Take time to preserve the best of you and keep moving!

If you need help getting to a better place, please call Fitness Together at (239) 263-9348 (335 14th Avenue South) and we can guide you in the right direction.

Here’s To Your Health!

Find your niche and keep moving. Fitness Together 335 14th Ave South, Naples, FL 34102 239.263.9348

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.