Warming Up & Cooling Down. Why Are They Important?

Warming Up & Cooling Down

Why Are They Important?

Warm UpThe warm up and cool down are a crucial part of your training or game preparation.

You are putting yourself at risk of injury if you miss this part of your game/training because your body will not be ready for the high intensity required in your sport.

Warming up not only helps your physical state but assists you mentally to be ready for the demands of the game.

Why warm up?

  • Prepares body for activity
  • Increases heart rate
  • Increases breathing rate
  • Increases core temperature

What is the best way to warm up?

Make sure it is sport specific. Warm up the muscle groups that are worked during your sport/activity.

Gradually build intensity over the warm up of 5-10 minutes, or longer in cold weather

Rather than static stretching, try to incorporate active stretches (leg swings, arm swings).

An example of a warm up for AFL football:

  • Light jog to slowly increase heart rate, begin to prepare leg muscles
  • Active stretching and warm up kicking, to prepare the legs for kicking
  • Sprints/game specific drills to increase HR and prepare body for the higher intensity/pace of the game

What is the best way to cool down?

The cool down is important to begin the recovery process after a game/training. It aids the heart rate, core temp and breathing rate to slowly decrease, as well as prevent the buildup of lactic acid after high intensity exercise.

Static stretching is more appropriate during the cool down to aid flexibility and prevent DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).

When stretching, ensure you stretch all muscle groups which were used during activity, hold the stretches gently and slowly and do not bounce or push into pain.

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mm About Andrew Darcey

Andrew Darcey is a Sports Physiotherapist based in Adelaide, South Australia. Andrew has a special interest in shoulder rehabilitation and works with Rowing and Australian Rules Football at an elite level.

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