Is Warming Up the Same as Stretching?

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photo courtesy of pixabay.com

photo courtesy of pixabay.com

Is Warming Up the Same as Stretching?

Years ago when I joined a weekend softball team, I remember the coach instructing us to warm up and then proceeded to lead us through a number of stretches. Looking back now, I cringe at the thought of going through flexibility exercises without first warming up my muscles with some light movements to increase blood flow and heart rate.

Unfortunately even today some people think that warming up and stretching are synonymous. They are not. Stretching a muscle does not warm it. In fact, trying to stretch a cold muscle can lead to injury and is dangerous since muscles have less elasticity when cold.

Stretching and warming up are two different processes. Stretching involves lengthening your muscles whereas warming up means you’re elevating your core body temperature and getting blood flowing to the muscles and increasing their temperature. Warmed up muscles stretch better.

First, warm up with a cardiovascular activity such as walking, jumping jacks, or dancing around and then stretch. (tweet this)

Had my softball coach led us through walking the bases or marching on the spot first before stretching we may have made it to the big leagues.

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