Warming up is important for improved performance and mitigating injuries. Not only does it serve to prepare the body, but it also motivates mentally for the challenges of difficult drills and games ahead.
Why Warming Up Is Important
The body requires time to transition from rest to strenuous physical activity. As the body temperature is raised the chemical processes in the muscles react faster and nerves signal faster. The joints are lubricated, and the articular cartilage absorbs joint fluid thereby making it thicker. The circulation is increases and the blood vessels are expanded in the working muscles. The nervous system becomes "tuned" to improve coordination. This improves performance and reduced risk of injury and has a significant impact on high intensitiy activities such as strength training, ball games and martial arts.
The Best Approach to Warming Up
Warming up should include movements that are similar to the exercise you are warming up for. If you are planning to do a specific hard drill then warm up the muscles and joints related to that drill. Start with a light load at a moderate pace and increase the intensity as the body gets warmer. The pulse should be gradually increased over a period of several minutes. It is a mistakes is to put hard exercises too early which can cause injuries and tire you.
Duration of Warm-Up Matters
A warm-up should last at least 10 minutes to get a significant increase in muscle temperature. A warm-up of more than 30 minutes will not provide a bonus but may drain energy from the actual drills and games. Avoid hard strength training as a warm-up instead save it for later in the workout. When you are done warming up you should feel ready and not exhausted.
Can Stretching Exercises Prevent Sports Injuries?
Stretching exercises before and after sports are very common. The idea behind stretching is to change the mechanical conditions of the muscle by providing more flexibility or changes to the reflexes so that the movement of the joints becomes smoother. However, studies indicate that there is possibly no effect in stretching exercises in regard to injuries. Stretching can relieve some pain and increase suppleness. You should always warm up before you stretch in order to avoid injury. Muscles are like a rubber band - a cold rubber band will snap, whereas a warm rubber band is flexible and will stretch and return to its original shape.