Dr. Anique Walters, PT
Concierge and lifestyle Physical Therapy
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Empowering YOU Through Movement

Concierge Physical Therapy blog to empower patients with health, wellness, prevention and rehabilitation education to improve their lifestyle and overall well-being. 

#FAQF..."

#FAQF… “Do I really have to warm up? What should I be doing? Can’t I just do a stretch or two?”… Yes, warm ups are key! But what you should actually be doing may look a little different than what you may think. 

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The point of a warm up is to prepare your body for dynamic movement.  This means your body needs to have both compliance (mobility) and stiffness (stability). Your body is like a spring. To jump you need to have length to get the maximum amount of oomph out of your muscle to propel you up, but you also need to have stability when you land to absorb shock so you don't fall over. 

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Our brain is the main thing that controls both of these factors.  Think about it, you have much more hamstring length when you are under anesthesia than when you are awake. So a warm up is there to help your brain stimulate the Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight) to increase the excitability of the tissues. Sounds pretty important when you put it that way, right?

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In order to kick the SNS into gear, you need to spark a specific type of mechanoreceptor called the Pacinian Corpuscles.  These guys will up regulate your system, turn the SNS on and will ultimately make your Proprioception, the ability to know where your body is in space, improve.  Proprioception is the key to all dynamic mobility thus making a warm up essential for performing at your best. 

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Pacinian Corpuscles are activated by quick, rapid pressure/vibration. So your warm up should include quick 10 second bursts of rapid movement. This can be on a foam roller, a ball, a stick, an IASTM tool, etc.  Now you know why Fighters jump up and down and slap themselves before they get in the ring? 

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Sustained pressure/shearing, such as a stretch, actually will stimulate a different type of mechanoreceptor called Ruffini Endings.  These activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System which actually down regulates your system, doing the exact opposite to what you want.  

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DM or email me at anique@aniquewalters.com for warm up exercises individualized for you. As always, a generic program ins’t ideal as we are all unique and require different types of input. 

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PS check out the incredible @jessielevine pictured above on @Foxnetworks episode of @superhuman! Talk about killer proprioception! 

Anique Walters