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Old 10-15-2009, 11:33 AM   #1
Janet Rosen
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Cooling down

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 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 — now known to be wrong — that muscles become sore after exercise because they accumulate lactic acid. In fact, lactic acid is a fuel. It's good to generate lactic acid, it's 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 public's mind."2. "As far as muscle soreness goes, cooling down doesn't 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.

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:39 AM   #2
Kevin Karr
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Re: cooling down

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.

Last edited by Kevin Karr : 10-15-2009 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:46 AM   #3
MattMiddleton
 
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Re: cooling down

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.

Last edited by MattMiddleton : 10-15-2009 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:26 PM   #4
Janet Rosen
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Re: cooling down

Quote:
Kevin Karr wrote: View Post
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
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:27 PM   #5
Janet Rosen
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Re: cooling down

Quote:
Matthew Middleton wrote: View Post
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.

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-16-2009, 01:54 AM   #6
grondahl
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Re: cooling down

I didn´t 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.

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If somebody can explain how static stretching helps one find one's center, I'd love to know.
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Old 10-16-2009, 07:34 AM   #7
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Re: cooling down

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
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.
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Old 10-16-2009, 09:43 AM   #8
Janet Rosen
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Re: cooling down

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.

Janet Rosen
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Old 10-16-2009, 10:36 AM   #9
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Re: Cooling down

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.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 10-16-2009, 12:10 PM   #10
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Re: cooling down

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
Eek! I apologize for not including the word "static" for clarity in my OP.
Ah, I think I see what you mean
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Old 10-16-2009, 02:05 PM   #11
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Re: Cooling down

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
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Old 10-16-2009, 02:25 PM   #12
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Re: Cooling down

Your on the Money Janet...I agree.

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Old 10-17-2009, 03:58 AM   #13
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Re: Cooling down

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.

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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