Warming up prior to exercise or playing sports is often ignored by many.
Maybe you’re running late to your match and don’t have enough time to warm up. Or maybe you’re just not bothered and believe you’ll be able to get away without doing it.
Whatever the reason may be, regardless of whether you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior, we should all incorporate warm ups prior to participating in physical activity and here’s why…
Why Do We Need to Warm Up?
Warming up helps prepare our body and mind for physical activity. It can also help improve our performance as long as they are appropriate for the exercise you are going to undertake.
A good warm up routine should include low intensity aerobic exercise (e.g. walking, running, skipping, swimming, cycling), stretching, and activity specific drills.
It is common for people to complete one or two of the components, but to gain the most benefit, you should include all three components in your warm up.
Benefits of warming up:
- Stimulates blood flow to the muscles and create faster and stronger muscle contractions.
- Increases the amount of synovial fluid in the joints to help improve mobility.
- Enhances communication and response time between nerves and muscles.
- Minimises risk of injury.
- Helps you mentally prepare and get into “the zone”.
- Aim for 10-20 minutes. This may vary depending on the type and intensity of the exercise, age, training status and conditioning levels.
- Make sure the warm ups are appropriate to the exercises or tasks you will be doing. For example, if you’re warming up before a football (soccer) game, you want to incorporate lower limb stretches or agility/ passing drills, and not weighted upper limb exercises.
- Perform DYNAMIC stretches, not static stretches. Most people are probably familiar with static stretching, but studies have found that static stretching may decrease strength and explosiveness. Instead, perform dynamic stretches in your warm up, which are more functional and targets multiple muscle groups.
- Cool downs are equally as important as warm ups. Cool downs help to steadily lower your body temperature and heart rate back to normal so it can continue to deliver oxygen to your muscles for recovery. Unlike warm ups, you want to avoid dynamic stretches and instead perform static stretches to help bring down the core body temperature.
Examples of a few Warm Up Exercises before a football (soccer) game:
- Low Intensity Aerobic Exercise
- Jogging around the field or around a cone circuit
- Progress to sprinting (50% jog, 75% effort, 100% sprint)
- Dynamic Stretching
- Hamstring sweeps
- High knees
- Heel flicks
- Open/ close the gate stretch
- Activity Specific Drill
- Rondos (Piggy in the middle)
- Passing drills
- Shooting drills
This article was written by Physiotherapist – John Sung, from our Precision Physio St Marys clinic. If you would like more information, or feel you might benefit from a session with one of the Precision Physio team, you can either come into our clinics, or work with us online.
How Do I Book An Appointment?
We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call any of these numbers to schedule a session:
- Precision Physio Concord: 02 9736 3950
- Precision Physio St Marys: 02 9623 2220
- Precision Physio Mt Druitt: 02 9188 2552
Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help!
To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.