The importance of a good warm up before playing sport should not be overlooked, as getting your muscles warm before activity and cooling down afterwards can be a significant factor in helping to prevent injury.
Getting the muscles moving and the body warm will help blood flow to the muscles, supplying them with more oxygen and reducing the risk of strains, sprains and muscle tears. It will also start to gradually increase your heart rate, and get your body used to the idea that you are about to begin more strenuous activity.
If you are going to be taking part in high intensity sports activity, then your warm up should last for at least 20 to 30 minutes, giving your body time to warm up as well as allowing plenty of time for mental preparation for the game.
A sports warm up should include some light cardiovascular activity, such as light jogging and stretching. You can then move on to some more explosive strength drills such as sprinting, turning and jumping – which gets the body ready for the activity to come.
Sports Specific Warm Ups
Once your body temperature has started to increase and the muscles are warm, it is recommended to go through some warm up activities specific to the sport that you will be playing.
Football players should go through some sprints and turns before the match while cricket and tennis players will practise the more specific movements associated with their sport. It is also recommended to keep warm during the game if there is a break in play or if a substitute is waiting to join the action.
Once the game is underway, it is equally important to keep the body warm and blood flowing to the muscles. The LP Embioz range of compression wear includes a Comfort system which helps to wick away sweat and ventilate quickly, keeping the body at the appropriate body temperature.
Cooling down after activity is just as important, as this allows your heart rate to return gradually to normal levels as well as removing waste products such as lactic acid which can result in muscle soreness.
A cool down should last between 5 and 10 minutes, with the level of activity being reduced followed by a series of stretching exercises.
For more specific advice on sports warm up and cool down techniques, please consult your local physiotherapist who will be able to help with a tailored programme.