We are all a bit more willing to warm up before exercise when the weather is cooler, but what does a good warm up look like these days? If you are going to spend the time, make sure you’re spending it wisely.
We always get asked whether you should warm up and stretch before sport or activity…so here is the low down and a good little routine to follow.
Warming up helps improve performance and is a great step towards preventing injury. It does this by preparing the body for physical activity, preventing a rapid increase in blood pressure, improving blood flow to the heart, increasing muscle temperature and making your muscles more pliable. A good warm-up consists of easy exercise such as walking, jogging or cycling continuously for 5-10 minutes.
Any kind of stretching should be done after the warm up. Dynamic stretching is best for warming up and involves moving your limbs slowly through a range of motion rather than holding still. Save the static stretches for your cool down.
If you’re getting ready for sport, include some exercises you’ll be using in your sport, such as short sprints, lunges, squats, shuttle runs, changing direction quickly, passing or shooting drills and defensive exercises with a partner.
Cooling down and stretching is important to aid in your recovery. It also helps to promote flexibility. This low-intensity exercise should last for 5-15 minutes and include activity such as slow jogging and then some static stretching. Stretch all your large muscle groups (such as your quads and hamstrings) and make sure you hold each stretch for 20-30 secs.
If you play team sports (such as AFL, soccer and/or netball), check out the pre-designed warm up programs that have been released by your national body. These address all the main areas well and if done consistently improve strength, flexibility, agility and have been proved time and time again to reduce injury in children and adults.
Do you have specific questions about the warm up that you should be doing for your sport? Make an appointment with one of physios so they have ensure you are doing it correctly or to introduce you to sport-specific information such as the KNEE Program.