Many of the injuries I see in young girls and boys are due to not preparing themselves before they play sport. I often get asked:
“How should I warm up, and what stretches should I do?”
This short article will give you some pointers to using your warm-up to:
- Help improve your performance
- Reduce the risk of getting injured
- Get your mind ready to play
There are different points of view on what should be included in your warm up. Traditionally, warm-ups have been mainly stretching exercises but there is some evidence too much stretching will decrease your performance, especially in explosive sports. However, there is also some evidence that would argue that stretches help to reduce injuries. Certainly I give my injured young athletes stretching exercises to do. This is why I prefer to do a mix of different activities during a warm up.
Keep it simple:
- Normally about 10-15 minutes would be enough.
- Start with a gentle amount of low load aerobic activity to get your heart rate, body temperature and breathing rate increased. This can take any form and is best probably related to your sports. Things like gentle jogging, skipping are very good to start with.
- You can include a mixture of slow controlled stretching of all the major muscle groups which will be used in your sport. For younger athletes a slow dynamic stretch through full range without a long hold would be better.
- It is also important to include dynamic exercises like controlled jumps, squats, skipping, balance and slow controlled activity related to your sport to help improve your performance.
- It is also very important for you to warm down after sport and the same principles apply.
[bs_well size=”md”]For more information on what stretches are useful, or to book an appointment to see our professional physiotherapy team, talk to your friendly Gold Coast Physio today on (07) 5574 4303.[/bs_well]