Thursday, July 31, 2008

We Love the Cha-Cha!

Marti said that lasts night class was great. Sorry there was no prize, that is my fault for not getting that to her. So next week we will do the drawing before class starts for the month of July. We recorded after class was over last night and thank you to the ones that stayed for the recording. This song is "Oye Como Va" by Santana. You can download this song from itunes and learn it from the video. Enjoy and see you next week! Don't forget to look often for new posts and you can even sign up to have an email sent to you when we make new posts to our blog. If you have questions please ask and I am always looking for new ideas for posts. Let me know!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Importance of Warm up and Cool down


The general warm up should consist of a light physical activity. Both the intensity and duration of the general warm up (or how hard and how long), should be governed by the fitness level of the participating athlete. Although a correct general warm up for the average person should take about five to ten minutes and result in a light sweat.
The aim of the general warm up is simply to elevate the heart rate and respiratory rate. This in turn increases the blood flow and helps with the transportation of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. This also helps to increase the muscle temperature, allowing for a more effective static stretch.
Static stretching is a very safe and effective form of basic stretching. There is a limited threat of injury and it is extremely beneficial for overall flexibility. During this part of the warm up, static stretching should include all the major muscle groups, and this entire part should last for about five to ten minutes.
Static stretching is performed by placing the body into a position whereby the muscle, or group of muscles to be stretched is under tension. Both the opposing muscle group (the muscles behind or in front of the stretched muscle), and the muscles to be stretched are relaxed. Then slowly and cautiously the body is moved to increase the tension of the muscle, or group of muscles to be stretched. At this point the position is held or maintained to allow the muscles and tendons to lengthen.
This part of an effective warm up is extremely important, as it helps to lengthen both the muscles and tendons which in turn allows your limbs a greater range of movement. This is very important in the prevention of muscle and tendon injuries.


Cooling down after exercise is just as important in reducing the risk of injury as the warming up process before exercise. Cooling down means gradually slowing down the level of activity. The major purpose of warming up is to prepare the body and mind for rigorous activity, whereas that of cooling down is to assist in recovery and to bring the body back to a pre-exercise or pre-workout state.
Cooling down also helps the heart rate and breathing to return back to normal. Cooling down after exercise helps prevent dizziness and needless pain. During a rigorous workout, the body experiences a number of stressful processes.
Muscle fibers, tendons and ligaments tend to undergo a lot of strain, and waste products build up inside the body. Cooling down after exercise, if performed correctly, will help the body flush the toxins and release the strains. Post Exercise Muscle Soreness, also referred to as Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), is one of the areas where cooling down after exercise is most useful. This is the soreness that is generally faced the day after a strenuous workout. When exercise is suddenly stopped blood, and waste products like lactic acid (a chemical effect of muscular fatigue), stay in the muscles, which can cause swelling and pain. This process is frequently referred to as 'blood pooling'.
Cooling down after exercise helps in returning the blood to the heart in adequate quantities to relieve the muscles off lactic acid. The circulating blood also carries with it the oxygen and nutrients required by the muscles, tendons and ligaments for repair and growth. An effective process for cooling down needs to include three major parts to guarantee a complete restoration of the circulation system. These are gentle exercise, stretching and re-fuel. All of these three elements are equally important and none of them should be ignored or treated as unnecessary. They work jointly to repair and replenish the body after exercise. Dizziness, nausea and a 'worn out' feeling are usual symptoms of an inappropriate cool down process. For an effective cool-down, carry out a low intensity exercise for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes and follow this with a stretching routine.
Also you can either carry on with the current exercise while gradually slowing its intensity, or jog or walk briskly for a few minutes, making sure that these activities are lesser in intensity as compared to the exercise previously performed.
During the cooling down process, after the heart rate has been lowered, stretch all major muscles, particularly the ones that have just been worked on. Every stretch ought to last for at least eight seconds, with longer stretches and repeats for those muscles that feel particularly sore.
The last part of the cooling down after exercise process involves the re-fuel, just as proper nutrition is needed before exercise to provide the fuel needed for activity, the body requires nourishment for the after exercise process of building muscles so water, minerals and carbohydrates are all needed.

As you have read, warm up and cool down are just as important as your aerobic workout. So the next time you think about arriving late or leaving a class early make sure you know of the side effects your body might have if neither of these or one of these is not done or incorporated into your daily exercise routine.