Thursday, October 9, 2008

Stretching, Warmups Important To Beating Injuries

Nobody I know who regularly works out enjoys stretching or warming up.

But we’ve been talking about “beating” injury and this is one way to do it.

Stretching and warming up is a “necessary evil” in the world of fitness and training. Stretching prior to and after vigorous exercise is vital to injury prevention. Stretching helps prepare the muscles for vigorous activity and helps them recover from the stress caused by a workout.

We’re all more prone to injury as we get older. I’m a prime example, as I never sustained a serious injury until I hurt my shoulder lifting weights when I was 37 years old. My suspicion is that a lack of stretching prior that workout back in 2003 may have had something to do with that injury. Effects of that injury still linger, but a variety of stretching exercises I learned from a physical therapist have helped me beat them.

I sustained knee injuries at age 39 and 42. Again, stretching exercises I learned from a physical therapist have played a critical role in my recovery from these injuries. Every day when I wake up, whether I have a workout planned for the early morning or not, I do a 20-minute stretching routine.

If you’re looking for encouragement to support the importance of stretching and warming up, you need to look no further than the American College of Sports Medicine. A recent release published on its website highlights the importance of stretching and warm-up -- A recent article published in the Herald Extra in Utah highlights the importance of stretching, particularly for active seniors --

So, now that I’ve made you a believer about improving your stretching and warm-up habits, you’re wondering where to go to find the proper exercises. Typing in “stretching exercises” or “stretching and warming up” on a Google search will provide a number of results with proper resources toward proper stretching and warm-up exercises. YouTube is also a great resource for learning new exercises. The best part about YouTube is you can watch experts perform the exercises.

Check out Dave Scott, six-time world Ironman champion, and his video that outlines six key stretching exercises. When you go to this site, you’ll see several other video bits on additional stretching and warm-up routines.

Now, take time to do a better job of preparing your body for the fitness activities of your choosing.

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