It has occurred to me that whilst we always perform a thorough warm up and cool down you may like to know the reason that we do it and the theory behind it.
Before we go out Nordic walking it is important to prepare our body for the activity in order to get the most out of it and avoid injury. We do this as there are a number of physical and mental benefits.
Increased muscle temperature: A warm up programme increases the temperature within the muscles used. Once warmed up a muscle can contract more forcefully and relax more quickly.
Decreased risk of injury: A warmed up muscle is less likely to be overstretched and less prone to injury.
Blood vessels dilate: This reduces the resistance to blood flow and lowers the stress to the heart. Increased blood temperature: As blood travels through the muscles, the temperature rises and the haemoglobin releases oxygen more readily. A slightly greater volume of oxygen is then made available to the working muscles, and so can enhance endurance.
Improved range of joint motion: For most people this the most important benefit of warming up: the ability to move the body freely and comfortably through the joint movement that occurs with faster walking.
Hormonal changes: Your body increases its production of various hormones responsible for regulating energy production. During the warm up the balance of hormones responsible for regulating energy production makes more carbohydrates and fatty acids available as fuel.
Mental preparation: Many of us lead stressful lives and have often rushed to get to the session. The warm up allows us the time to relax and prepare mentally for the session, with increased attention on the activity itself.