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Prepare for athletic success through the warm up

Warming up prior to exercise offers tremendous benefits for your health.  It is the bridge from your normal daily work to your work out.  The warm up raises your body temperature, increases blood flow to your muscles, enhances joint mobility, and stimulates your nervous system; consequently, it allows you to enter into the right frame of mind while preparing your body to meet higher physical demands.  When the warm up is performed correctly, over time an increased range of motion in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments will create better movement mechanics and force production (A.Johnson, 2008). 

walking lunge
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Injury Prevention

Going into a vigorous activity without a sufficient warm up is akin to starting your car on a sub-zero temperature day and immediately racing it on the expressway; it's a risky maneuver that could be costly.  By warming up your body properly, you essentially stimulate your body in preparation for an increased work load that would be too shocking to it otherwise.  For example, if you're planning on wrestling, sprinting or getting involved in a pickup basketball game, chances are you may extend your body in a contorted position while applying a meaningful amount of force.  A proper warm up will allow you to move more fluidly through your session without a major disruption to your neuromuscular system; that is primarily on account of the physical preparation beforehand when your range of motion and joint flexibility were challenged or primed.

Dynamic Warm Up

When participating in sports, at whatever level you do, mimicking your sport specific movement at a much slower pace, thoroughly prepares your body and mind for what is about to come.  A few decades back, it was static stretching prior to a vigorous athletic event that was the norm; however, extensive research has indicated that athletic performance is far superior after dynamic stretching (active flexibility movements) than with traditional static stretching involving stretching your muscles from a still or rested body position for a period of five to thirty seconds.  Static stretching is now accepted in the cool down phase of exercise or after vigorous activity is performed.  The dynamic warm up, however, is a key component warming up your muscles in preparation to move at an accelerated pace.  Try it and you will find that your balance, range of motion, body coordination, and athletic performance will be enhanced.

Below is an excellent dynamic warm up that will thoroughly prepare you for whatever high intensity activity you are participating in:

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