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Janet Rosen
10-15-2009, 12:33 PM
I have long and seemingly in vain lobbied against "warm ups" that are in fact the useless and perhaps counterproductive stretching of cold muscles...
Now here is an article in today's New York Times (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090330200831.htm) that reassures me that I'm perfectly healthy continuing to not do a "cool down" either.
Two interesting points it makes are
1. "The idea of the cool-down seems to have originated with a popular theory ó now known to be wrong ó that muscles become sore after exercise because they accumulate lactic acid. In fact, lactic acid is a fuel. Itís good to generate lactic acid, itís a normal part of exercise, and it has nothing to do with muscle soreness...Dr. Foster said, even though scientists know the lactic acid theory is wrong, it remains entrenched in the publicís mind."2. "As far as muscle soreness goes, cooling down doesnít do anything to alleviate it, Dr. Tanaka said. And there is no physiological reason why it should."
The only benefit they cite is after very intensive aerobic exercise (like long distance running) a cool down could prevent dizziness.

Kevin Karr
10-15-2009, 12:39 PM
I've often thought about this, too. At my dojo, we do 30 mins worth of stretching before ukemi and then beginning technique. I sometimes wonder if it would be better to do jumping jacks and things of that sort (like ukemi) to raise the heart rate and get the blood flowing at the beginning of class and do the stretching at the end of class.

MattMiddleton
10-15-2009, 12:46 PM
We do about 15 minutes of stretches at the beginning of class, though a lot of them serve the purpose of helping to find one's centre as well as moving around it. Depending on the class, we'll also do 5-15 minutes of ukemi, which I find gets my heart rate going.

The closest thing to a cool-down we do is kokyu dosa for a few minutes, but it's not something we do every time.

The only thing that has helped with sore muscles is moving them around. Not sure about the science behind why it helps, but it seems to work for me.

Janet Rosen
10-16-2009, 12:26 AM
I sometimes wonder if it would be better to do jumping jacks and things of that sort (like ukemi) to raise the heart rate and get the blood flowing at the beginning of class and do the stretching at the end of class.
Yes.

Janet Rosen
10-16-2009, 12:27 AM
We do about 15 minutes of stretches at the beginning of class, though a lot of them serve the purpose of helping to find one's centre as well as moving around it.
If somebody can explain how static stretching helps one find one's center, I'd love to know.

grondahl
10-16-2009, 02:54 AM
I didnīt see the word "static" in your quote?

When I lead the warm-ups I generally dont do static stretches at all but I usually do a couple of dynamic stretches (lunges, squats etc).
I figure that for instance the sun salutations done in a flowing dynamic manner (like in Ashtanga) also could be a good warm up.

If somebody can explain how static stretching helps one find one's center, I'd love to know.

MattMiddleton
10-16-2009, 08:34 AM
If somebody can explain how static stretching helps one find one's center, I'd love to know.

One of the stretches we do is reaching from left to right (or right to left) over the head, bending the right (or left) knee, and facing the armpit to the ceiling. This stretches out the shoulder and arm, but it also forces us to move around our centre. At least, that's how it feels when I do it.

Janet Rosen
10-16-2009, 10:43 AM
Eek! I apologize for not including the word "static" for clarity in my OP.

I think a lot of what is called "warm ups" in aikido is stretching, but also that some of the things that are called 'stretching" would in a physiotherapy setting really be considered range of motion - for instance, the slow neck and shoulder movements and turns, knee circles, etc. Range of motion does warm the muscles while it takes the body through gross movements that indeed can help your proprioception, awareness of one point, sense of balance and center. My objection is to static stretching of cold muscles, which has been shown to have no positive effect and may predispose to small muscle tears.

ninjaqutie
10-16-2009, 11:36 AM
We don't do much static stretching. We do a tiny bit at the end of our warm up, but that is it. By then, our muscles are already a bit warm and it is nice.

MattMiddleton
10-16-2009, 01:10 PM
Eek! I apologize for not including the word "static" for clarity in my OP.

Ah, I think I see what you mean :)

dps
10-16-2009, 03:05 PM
What I have been reading lately indicates it is better to do aerobic exercise to a light sweat to increase blood flow to the muscles as a warm up. Then at the end do the stretching as your cool down.

The idea is that once the muscles have been enlarged because of increase blood flow, slow sustained stretching allows the facia to stretch and fit the new shape of the muscle. An extended stretch conditions the facia to stay at the new shape of the muscle, otherwise the facia tries to return to its prior shape.

David

Kevin Leavitt
10-16-2009, 03:25 PM
Your on the Money Janet...I agree.

SeiserL
10-17-2009, 04:58 AM
I like cool downs to quiet the body and mind after a good workout to end on a positive calm note. Makes me want to come back for more.