We must warm up to WARMING UP . Too often, the focus on playing overrides the importance of what comes before and after. Few people realise that while they may be separate acts, Warming up and cooling down are an extension of the game.
We must realise that the game begins, not at kick-off, but when you do your first stretch. That it ends, not at the final whistle, but when you do your last stretch. Now that I have warmed up to you, let me tell you why, how and when you too, should warm up and cool down.
Before you exercise, think about warming up your muscles. This increases the temperature and flexibility of your muscles, and helps you have a safer, more efficient workout. Warm-up is designed to elevate core body temperature. The generalized warm-up movements are important to maximizing sport performance and reducing injury risk in physical activity.
An ideal warm up should extend for 5 to 10 minutes. The more intense the activity, the longer the warm-up.
Do whatever activity you plan on doing (running, walking, etc.) at a slower pace (jog, walk slowly).
Why should you warm up? Well, because it..
1.) Prepares the cardiovascular system for impending workload .Helps the heart and blood vessels adjust to the body’s increased demands for oxygen.
2.)Increases the blood saturation of muscles and connective tissues. The more blood reaching the muscles, tendons and ligaments, the better the elasticity of these tissues.
3.) Helps promote sweating. I don’t want to be crude but Remember: Sweat is good. It reduces the amount of heat stored in the body. Your body spends more energy in cooling itself than through any other activity.
4.) Increases degradation of oxyhemoglobin. Simply put, warming up helps break down the chemical complex of oxygen, separating from the blood and enhancing its delivery to the muscle.
5.) Warm-ups stimulate the synovial fluid in the joints. This is especially important to older individuals and those who have had injuries as they have a reduced flow.
COOL DOWN, think about it.
A cool-down provides the body with a smooth transition from a state of higher activity back to a steady state of rest. It promotes recovery and returns the body to its pre-workout state. During a strenuous workout, your body goes through a number of stressful processes; muscle fibers, tendons and ligaments get damaged, and waste products build up within your body. The cool-down,when performed properly, assists your body in its repair process.
Directions: Walk for about 5 minutes, or until your heart rate gets below 120 beats per minute.
Stretching: Hold each stretch 10 to 30 seconds. If you feel you need more, stretch the other side and return for another set of stretching. The stretch should be strong, but not painful. Do not bounce. Breathe while you’re stretching. Exhale as you stretch, inhale while holding the stretch.
Why must one cool down? Well because cooling down,
1.) Reduces heart rate and slows down breathing rate
2.) Gradually cools the body temperature.
3.) Returns muscles to their optimal length-tension relationships and also Increases flexibility.
4.) Prevents venous pooling of blood in the lower extremities.
5.)Lessens the effects of DOMS- Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common side effect of intense exercise.
Remember, The game doesn’t begin till the first stretch, and is over only after the last.
A die - hard Manchester United fan, Anoop worships Sir Alex Ferguson. When he isn't following footballers, he makes them fit. A Sports Physio and a wellness expert, he has published his research in International Journal for Research and Reviews. Anoop has also worked with various Hospitals, Fitness Centres and Footbal clubs, including our very own I-league's Viva Kerala.