Warm Up & Cool Down – Why It’s Important

It’s safe to say that most of us know exactly what a warm up and cool down is.

We’ve all been there, whether it was with old sporting groups in our younger years, at school as a child and even now with group exercise classes and weekend sporting teams. A warm up and cool down is essentially part and parcel of any kind of physical activity.

Why is it such a big deal?

Regardless of how much we all know about it, we still see many people enter our practice with injuries that could have been prevented with just an adequate warm up and cool down before and after their physical activity. The body is at a heightened risk of injury if it is not ready for the intensity of activity it is about to endure. Unfortunately, the more and more warm ups and cool downs aren’t completed, the higher your chances of sustaining an unwanted injury that will only set you back!

And it’s not just about physically preparing you for the game or activity, a structured warm up can aid you mentally so you can meet the demands of the game or activity.

Why Warm Up?

So, here are a few reasons as to why you should regularly warm up before any kind of activity or game:

  • Prepares the body for activity
  • Increases the heart rate
  • Increases the breathing rate
  • Increases the core temperature

Best Practice For Warming Up

  1. Ensure that your warm up is sport specific. Make sure that you’re moving and involving muscle groups that correspond with the activity you’re about to do.
  2. Don’t jump in too hard too fast. Ensure that your warm up is completed gradually over a 5-10 minute period, even longer if you feel you need to or in colder weather.
  3. Incorporate a variety of stretches, both static and active stretches – the ones that involve a level of movement or momentum.

Why Cool Down?

Let’s talk cooling down now. Here are a few of the reasons why cooling down is so crucial after a game or training:

  • Aids the change in heart rate
  • Aids the change in core temperature
  • Aids the breathing rate as it decreases
  • Can prevent the build-up of lactic acid

Best Practice for Cooling Down

  1. A slow walk after right after your activity has been completed
  2. Static stretching to promote flexibility & to prevent DOMS
  3. Be sure to stretch all major muscle groups involved with the particular activity
  4. Avoid ‘pushing’ through pain / bouncing your stretches and complete your cool down slowly

These simple, yet effective steps to include both before and after training can have a substantial effect on your ability to ward off injury, to maintain an active lifestyle without interruption and to care for your body all year around. Whether it’s during  your sporting season this year, or it’s just before or after a jog around the park with friends – implementing an adequate warm up and cool down can and will do wonders for your body.

Here at Progressive Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy, we believe strongly in taking the time to care for your body and to minimise your risk of injury as much as possible, at every given chance. If you’re not warming up and cooling down, you’re preparing yourself for injury.

If you would like more information about recommended warm up & cool down methods for your specific sport or training to minimise injury, please feel free to contact the clinic today by calling (02) 4721 7798 or by emailing info@progressiverehab.com.au. You can also click here to book an initial consultation with one of our experienced physiotherapists.

Don’t forget to warm up and cool down next time you complete a training session!

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, working in the cardiac rehabilitation program, heart failure service and mental health unit at Nepean Hospital. And at the ACU Exercise and Lifestyle Clinic working with clients with neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since graduating, Andrea enjoys working with a variety of clients. She has a particular interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions, striving to help people increase their functional capacity to get them back to work, sport or the things they love doing.