Do I Need To Warm Up?

Lately, we’ve had many patients coming in who are working out from home more and trying new forms of exercise compared to what they were previously doing in bigger gyms. One of the most surprising things to hear from patients is that they aren’t warming up before exercise. Whether it is going for a run, doing a youtube workout, or even playing a round of golf, a warm up can have a dramatic effect on performance and post activity soreness.

However, not all warm ups are created equal. 

Depending on your age, you may think of the “sit and reach” type stretches that most people grew up performing before sporting events or in gym class. Those have been left behind for the most part in the exercise and performance world. Research has suggested that this type of stretching can decrease muscle strength and power… both undesirable effects before playing sports or working out. 

What we want to be doing is a dynamic warm up, a warm up that involves movement and prepares muscles and joints for the upcoming activity. The warm up should be tailored to the activity that comes after it. Ideally, you are preparing in all three directions of movement, (front to back, side to side, and rotational), and in general the main goals are to increase blood flow and neurologically prepare the muscles that you are about to use. There has even been evidence to point to an active warm up reducing likelihood of sports related musculoskeletal injuries. In addition, it is also a great opportunity to work on mobility and control, agility, and general strength and power. 

While there are plenty of sources to use on the internet, a modern chiropractor is one of the best resources to create a comprehensive warm up that suits you. If you are looking for a Park Ridge chiropractor, Ridge Rehab and Chiropractic is happy to assist. Call us today to make an appointment!

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Warming-up and stretching for improved physical performance and prevention of sports-relatedinjuries.

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Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2014 Jan;9(1):145-50. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2012-0345. Epub 2013 Apr 9.

Does warm-up have a beneficial effect on 100-m freestyle?

Neiva HP1, Marques MC, Fernandes RJ, Viana JL, Barbosa TM, Marinho DA.

J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Apr;26(4):1130-41. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31822e58b6.

A dynamic warm-up model increases quadriceps strength and hamstring flexibility.

Aguilar AJ1, DiStefano LJ, Brown CN, Herman DC, Guskiewicz KM, Padua DA.

Intro to Exercise and Movement Myths

As hard as it has been dealing with the largest global pandemic in modern history, there are a number of silver linings to be found in the time of coronavirus. People are spending more time with loved ones, picking up new hobbies, and many have renewed their interest in exercise. 

Over the years, there have been some misconceptions about exercise, mainly its relationship with pain and its effects on the body. Between various fitness fads coming and going over the years, clickbait-y interpretations of medical research, “bro science” in gyms, and other false or misleading health info on the internet, you can quickly develop a negative view of exercise. While any physical activity can be associated with aches and pains and occasional musculoskeletal issues, in general the benefits of movement far outweigh any of the negatives. At Ridge Rehab and Chiropractic, we place an emphasis on patient education and feel blogs like these are a good place to start. 

Myth #1 – “Exercise is only for putting on muscle or losing fat. I don’t care about either of those so I don’t need to exercise.” 

Many people think the only reason to exercise is to look better or pack on muscle. While these are some of the most common reasons for exercise, and are indeed beneficial when it comes to our health, it is isn’t the where the benefits of exercise end. 

Exercise is also one of the most extensively researched interventions for decreasing pain. For example, this study found that the more active older adults were, the better their bodies were at dealing with pain. In simple terms, people who moved more ended up with bodies that were more efficient “pain killers”. This paper from a few years back shows effectiveness for exercise as an intervention for all sorts of musculoskeletal issues. This has been common knowledge for many medical providers for a long time, and is the reason why Chiropractors and Physical Therapists incorporate movement and corrective exercises into treatment plans for patients dealing with pain. 

Along with affecting pain, we also have proof that exercise can help with other aspects of our health such as depression and anxiety. That paper found that exercise had “a positive effect of exercise on anxiety and depression… not less effective than pharmacological or psychotherapeutic treatments.” If you are someone who deals with anxiety or depression, exercise needs to be part of your daily or at least weekly routine. 

In addition, there is also evidence that exercise should be involved in the treatment, or utilized in the prevention of of things such as heart conditionsmetabolic and inflammatory diseases, and is even associated with helping us live longer

Myth #2 – “Exercise will wear down my body and wear out my joints.”

This is a myth that has unfortunately been promoted by doctors and medical professionals for a long time. Nowadays, we understand that this isn’t exactly the case and that the body is very adaptable and can respond in various ways to different stimuli. 

For example, we know if we lift weights we get stronger, if we run our cardiovascular system becomes more efficient, etcetera. This is not new information. However there have been countless studies demonstrating more interesting adaptations in humans, and showing that the opposite of “wear and tear” occurs with exercise. This study on runners actually showed that they had a lower incidence of meniscal tears compared to those who don’t run. Another Study has showed that higher intensity activity was associated with BETTER disc health on MRI’s, not worse! We also have research, such as this paper, showing the effects of heavy weightlifting improving the bone density in patients with osteoporosis! As you can see the relationship is not always “running or weight lifting = arthritis or injury.”

Myth #3 – “Exercise will leave me in pain or even worse, give me some sort of new chronic pain!”

As I mentioned before, it’s possible to injure yourself exercising, just as its possible to sprain an ankle walking down the street, or to develop pain from sitting at your desk. Exercise has the reputation for causing pain, but there is actually evidence showing a reduction in chronic pain in older and younger people who exercised recreationally. 

The info can be found here. This also showed that the more often, the longer, and the harder you exercise, the greater the positive affect on chronic pain. 

Of course we need to be sure that we know what we’re doing when it comes to certain exercises. You may need help from a Chiropractor, Physical Therapist, or fitness professional from time to time to help you with aches and pains or to improve your performance, but we need to change the narrative that exercise wears out our bodies. The information above is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the researched benefits of exercise. Even just looking at the handful of links in this blog should be ample evidence for the “pros” outweighing the “cons” of movement and exercise. Be a “movement optimist” and get out and get active! As always if you need any help, contact us at Ridge-rehab.com or 847-796-0224. We’d love to help! 

— Dr. Gavin