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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- A slow walk after right after your activity has been completed
- Static stretching to promote flexibility & to prevent DOMS
- Be sure to stretch all major muscle groups involved with the particular activity
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!