Column 8 - Warm Up with a Good Stretch

Original publication date: October 26, 1983

Last week as I was walking to the library with my girls, a fellow approached me and asked if I wrote a column for the Waterloo Chronicle. After recovering from genuine surprise that someone had recognized me, I stated that yes 1 did write the column. The fellow went on to say that he had been suffering from back spasms and lower back pain. He jogs and plays racquetball and wondered if switching jogging to skipping would alleviate the back problems.

The fellow jogs which puts a tremendous amount of stress on the lower back. Racquetball also puts a tremendous amount of stress on the lower back.

Both sports are enjoyable and provide good exercise. It would be a shame to discontinue a sport you like because of the after-game pain. The solution can be as easy as warming up your body before playing a game or going for a jog.

This may or may not be the particular problem of the fellow I was talking to. It does, however, bring to mind the problem many people share who play any sport. The need to warm the body up.

Warming-up the body, especially the back, should be a prerequisite in order to perform well in any activity.

The warm-up allows the body to prepare itself for demanding exercises to follow. Stretching the body, moving, or walking can increase the temperature of the body, without tiring you, which a warm-up is supposed to do. Sweating is a good indication that your temperature has risen.

There are many positive effects of a good warm-up. Your muscles will be more efficient, as they would be able to receive blood easier and quicker, messages sent to your brain from your muscles by way of the nervous system, would be received faster, improving your reflexes, and you would be able to exercise harder and longer without fatigue. The after-game pain should be minimized.

There are literally hundreds of exercises involved in the warm-up. A good rule to remember is to warm-up all parts of the body working from your feet to your head. Loosen up your body by way of stretching and moving in fluid movements. Do your stretching slowly. The slower you stretch, the better you'll stretch. Pay special attention to your back. Arching your spine and curling your spine will stretch the lower back. By putting your chin to your chest while standing tall, you'll give the upper part of the spine a good stretch. Curl your head down farther and you'll give the middle section of the back a good stretch.

After you've finished the warm-up and finished jogging or participating in a sport, repeat the warm-up exercises. It's just as important to cool your body down, as it is to warm your body up. All it takes is about 10 minutes before and after activity to greatly improve your endurance, flexibility and reflexes, which are vital in performing well in any sport. The choice of sport, whether it be jogging or skipping, is strictly personal, once your body is conditioned.

Copyright 2020 K.L. McCluskey, all rights reserved.