Don’t you warm up before starting a workout? Big mistake! Indeed, Japanese scientists from Osaka University reveal that even a small increase in skeletal muscle temperature can quickly activate contractile proteins and improve muscle performance. An observation confirmed by Professor Jean-François Toussaint, professor of physiology at Paris Cité University.
Do you think about warming up before a sports session? If this is not the case, it is important to reconsider the preparation that precedes your sporting activity. Indeed, according to researchers from Osaka University, Jikei University School of Medicine and the National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology, this preparation time is essential for sports performance.
How do our muscles work?
Skeletal muscle contracts in response to a command from the brain that triggers electrical signals through the nervous system. These signals activate proteins in muscle cells and allow us to move. In this study, scientists demonstrate how muscle warming affects muscle contraction and how this can benefit athletic performance.
Temperature affects skeletal muscle
By analyzing skeletal muscle, more precisely the proteins contained in its cells, researchers studied the impact of heat on their functioning. The experts thus noted that some of the proteins in muscle cells act as a temperature sensor and that heating affects the skeletal and cardiac contractile systems differently, the latter having been studied in previous work.
“Our results indicate differences in the temperature sensitivity of proteins responsible for contraction of skeletal muscles compared to cardiac muscles” explains Kotaro Oyama, co-author of this work. “Basically, the skeletal muscle that moves our body is more sensitive to heating than the heart.”
The importance of warming up before any sports session
Asked about the conclusions of this study, Professor Jean-François Toussaint, professor of physiology at Paris Cité University, would first like to emphasize the quality of the study. “This study was very well carried out.” he notes. “It shows that over a small temperature difference, muscle cells optimize their operating capacity. This shows that they only achieve optimal functioning at a certain temperature, which demonstrates the importance of warming up, before any effort.“.