It is well known that stretch is necessary to prevent
sports-related muscular injury. What is
less well appreciated is what additional steps must be taken to minimize trauma
to muscle, tendon and connective tissues.
A warm up is intended to raise body temperature, increase blood flow, and
permit time to focus on the physical challenge to come. The time investment required is rather
individual. The length of time required
will increase with the age of the athlete.
Younger athletes may require as little as 15 to 20 minutes, the time investment will increase to as much as
45 minutes for more mature participants.
The warm up begins with systematic stretch of the extremities and torso,
and should precede cardio challenge. A gradual
warm up will increase range of motion, permit muscular stretch, prior to
challenging aerobic performance.
A satisfactory warm up will result in a 2 to 3 degree rise in body
temperature. This rise in body temperature
reflects an increase in metabolic rate, and can be expected to last 30 to 45
minutes after exercise ceases. The degree of temperature rise reflects hormonal
status, thyroid function and level of conditioning.
The increase in temperature results in dilation of the peripheral
vasculature, resulting in increased blood flow to the muscles, connective
tissue and joints. The increase in
temperature should increase flexibility of the joints and connective tissues. The intention, of course, is to reduce the
risk of injury to joint, muscle and tendon.
conditioning is another matter, entirely. The athlete can influence blood flow
to the muscles, increase toxin wash-out, and improve stamina by selecting
nutraceutical supplementation. Every athlete has a preferred dietary protein
and calorie regimen, and it is well beyond the scope of this brief article to
opine as to the relative benefits and risks of different approaches. There are interventions that can be taken
irrespective of the individual preferences, beliefs and intentions.
eliminating discussion of protein and carbohydrate loading, consideration
should be given to enhancing muscular stamina through modulation of regional
blood flow, capillary resistance and anti-oxidant reserve.
flow can be enhanced by decreasing blood viscosity (thinning the blood), opening
the microvasculature thereby tempering the effects of lactic acid accumulation,
the net effect will be an increase in blood flow and an increase in oxygen delivery
to muscle tissue. This can be accomplished with selective use of fish oil
products and/or olive oil. Only the
highest quality fish oil should be used due to mercury contamination and fish
protein intolerance. A ‘concentrated’
fish oil is generally distilled, and this removes mercury and most fish
protein. The concentrated fish oil
should be taken, at a minimum, of 2 grams twice daily. Alternatively, one ounce of olive oil,
preferably taken in a ‘shot glass’ followed by fruit juice of choice.
vessel dilation can be accomplished with hawthorn berry extract, vinpocetin and
huperzine. Taken in combination, these
nutraceuticals dilate small vessels through blocking the phosphodiesterase
(PDE) receptors in various organs and tissues.
100 mcg, combined with vinpocetin 20-40 mg and hawthorne berry extract 450-600 mg daily.
for Improved Stamina
use of anti oxidants can improve muscular function and improve stamina. These anti-oxidants are not necessarily widely
recognized but they are widely available.
Alpha lipoic acid, taken 250 mg four times daily, combined with taurine
500 mg twice daily will provide an anti-oxidant reserve that will increase
muscular stamina and endurance.
endurance and athletic stamina can be enhanced through the thoughtful use of
nutraceuticals that increase microvascular blood flow, decrease blood viscosity
and enhance anti-oxidant reserve.
to most nutritional regimens, the addition of a few easily specific
nutraceuticals can provide noticeable improvement in performance and comfort.