Warm-Ups/Recovery Cool Downs
This has been a recent topical issue and worthy of clarification.
Why do a warm-up or cool down?
- helps prevent injury
- enhances performance
- reduces post activity soreness
Warm-ups increase your muscle and body temperature thereby increasing the oxygen avaliable to the working muscles. Other benefits include:
- improves coordination and reduces reaction time
- increases muscle contractile force allowing more powerful movements
- improves blood flow to the working muscles
- increases flexibility of the tendons/ligaments thereby increasing active range of movement
- familiarises the participant with the requirments of the sport
- provides mental focus (relaxes the nerves)
Warm-ups should incorporate general activity to increase body temperature, specific stretches and the use of sports specific drills. The level of warm-up required depends on the activity to be performed.
Generally, a warm-up may comprise
of the following:
- 5-10 minutes of low level aerobic activity
- static stretching of major muscle groups
- sports specific drills
(i.e. run throughs, shuttles, hurdle drills) - this phase takes approximately 10-20 minutes to complete
- it is important to allow some period of time for brief recovery prior to competition
Warm-ups don't last forever, so if you have stopped exercise for over an hour, it is best to warm-up again as many of the benefits will have been lost.
Equally important is the recovery period following exercise. This facilitiates removal of lactic acid and other byproducts following exercise, prevents the onset of DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) and allows working muscles to be stretched ready to perform again. This is particularly important for multiple events performed over the course of time.
Remember for young children, they do not require extended periods of warm-up. Incorporate fun acticvities to achieve the desired goal and compliance. The main aim is to get them doing it and appreciating the benefits for a life long habit.