The winds of change are blowing through the mean streets of NYC, and I’m not just talking about the mayoral race set for this November. Of course I’m not talking about the mayoral race because my mother told me never to talk politics or religion in the office. I would just say, however, thank heavens we now have bicycle lanes in NYC, smoking is outlawed in most public places, and the economy is relatively stable, sort of. In any case, I am talking about the cold winds of autumn. As the air chills and the leaves fall, we need to warm up – before working out, that is.
Many of my NYC podiatry patients are runners, bicyclists, baseball players, basketball players or other fitness enthusiasts. And many times in the office the conversation turns away from politics and religion to the topic of warming up or stretching before exercise. In the annals of this blog, we have discussed the benefits of pre-workout stretching and the necessity of post workout stretching. Warming up before running is even more important and carries a myriad of health and exercise benefits such as increased muscle temperature, body temperature, better range of motion, and improved mental performance. There are other studies that indicate the rate of injury is decreased in athletes who warm up before exercise, and all major sports teams dedicate time to warming up before a game, just as any performer of any skill warms up before starting a performance.
And it’s not hard to do. A few minutes of vigorous walking before running works well, as does jogging in place or running a track before playing any team sport. We all may not be as young as we were, and the old creaky muscles and tendons need a few minutes to stretch, warm up and become conditioned before use in order to prevent tendonitis, Achilles tendon ruptures and muscle strains, among other fun maladies that often accompany the dreaded middle age.
Stretching exercises may not be the fun part of exercise, but it may be the most productive part. As my mother also said, stay off the grass, it needs to grow!
See you in the office.