Warming Up - Is It Important?
It amazes me that in many amateur sports still today the amount of people who don’t warm up! I myself am guilty and don’t warm up either at times!
If you don’t get the heart going, the blood pumping into the muscles and the muscles stretched, you could injure yourself very easily.
There are many different types of warming up (stretching). Many people do what’s called static stretches which are good but when done alone might actually make you more prone to injury.
A static stretch is one when there is no movement. So it’s like bending over to touch your toes and holding it for a few seconds. The muscles are being stretched and held here. Hold for 10 seconds for warming up, no longer. This should at most feel uncomfortable but NOT sore.
For a warm up, we need more ‘active’ stretches in our routine which is light jogging, alternative knee lifts, rolling the shoulders, arm circles, twisting the hips. This is where we are moving our body while giving our muscles a light stretch and also getting the blood flow pumping.
Then there’s ballistic stretching, which is like watching a boxer as they are in the ring shaking their arms and legs. Its moving your body but letting gravity do the work for you. So shaking out your arms and legs, giving yourself a self hug alternating the arms. It’s an easy stretch as gravity does the work.
How to warm up properly:
We want to start off with light active stretches to get the blood flow pumping like jogging on the spot, knees up, knees out, jumping side to side and rolling the shoulders.
Then we want to do a bit of static stretches to the muscles we are going to use. This should only take 5 – 10 seconds per stretch as we don’t want our body and muscles to cool down. We want to keep the blood flowing.
We finish with ballistic stretching to get everything shook out.
Warming up is one of the best way to help prevent injuries from occurring.
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