According to research in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise, warming up before exercising improves performance. Warmups increase the amount of blood and oxygen delivered to the muscles, so your body is working more efficiently when you start to exercise. Also research shows that regular exercise can help your body fight colds. Regular exercise improves immune system function by releasing more anti-bodies into the bloodstream. However do not over do it.
The purpose of the warm-up, junbi undo, is to gently and gradually prepare your body for more strenuous exercises to follow. Warming-up properly is essential. Do not practice a technique “cold”, because it puts a tremendous stress on the muscles, joints and connectors and can lead to injuries. Increase the temperature of the body gradually with warm-up exercises and proper breathing, exhaling slowly during the effort.
• A warm-up should start gradually and slowly to get the body moving.The duration of the warm-up depends on the individual’s conditioning, age and experience, the room temperature and the nature of the work-out to follow.
• The warm-up is psychological as well as physical, it helps you feel ready for the training and aware of your balance and focus, with a sense of pleasant anticipation. A higher body temperature also helps the nervous system to send and receive messages more rapidly which is useful for co-ordination and split second decisions. It also increases the speed and force of muscle contraction. Increasing the blood flow to the muscles provides more available oxygen because of the dilation of the capillaries. It also helps to remove waste products such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid, preventing or reducing the level of fatigue and muscle soreness.
• Do not confuse warming-up with stretching. The best time to perform stretching exercises for improved flexibility is after the body is well warmed-up, relaxed, and when the blood circulation is at an optimum level usually at the end of a workout. Recent studies have suggested that anything more than gentle loosening stretches at the start of a workout may actually hinder activity.
• The warm-up presented here is a basic general preparation of the body. If done properly it has sufficient duration and intensity to elevate the body temperature, gently loosen the muscles and joints, increase the breathing rhythm and cardio pulse rate and help focus the mind in the body.The time before your training should be used to gently loosen the body, shake out tensions and begin focusing the mind on the training session ahead and that time should be used constructively and responsibly.
• Be aware that once you have entered the dojo and bowed-in, conversation should be kept to a minimum other than positive friendly greetings. It is a time to get one’s mind in gear for the training and not the appropriate time to complain about the traffic or your day at work or sore muscles from a hockey game with friends. Save the catch-up for the dressing room.
• Avoid extreme actions and bouncing or jerking movements that can pull muscles or ligaments very easily. Do not force the body beyond its natural limits, feel comfortable and enjoy the process.
• Avoid practicing any technique until this warm-up has been done.
The following video shows similar exercises to what we will do for a warm-up. It is a little blurry but you will get the jist of it.