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Sports-Specific Warm up and Cool Down Advice

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Spending time on warming up and cooling down will improve an athletes level of performance and accelerate the recovery process needed before and after training or competition.   Warm up

Muscle stiffness is thought to be directly related to muscle injury and therefore the warm up should be aimed at reducing muscle stiffness, a good warm up should consist of 5-10 minutes cardio to increase blood flow followed by 10 minutes of Dynamic stretches. These are more appropriate to the warm up as they help reduce muscle stiffness. Static stretching exercises do not reduce muscle stiffness.

Benefits of an appropriate warm up will result in an:

  • Increased speed of contraction and relaxation of warmed muscles
  • Dynamic exercises reduce muscle stiffness
  • Greater economy of movement because of lowered viscous resistance within warmed muscles
  • Facilitated oxygen utilization by warmed muscles because haemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at higher muscle temperatures
  • Facilitated nerve transmission and muscle metabolism at higher temperatures; a specific warm up can facilitate motor unit recruitment required in subsequent all out activity
  • Increased blood flow through active tissues as local vascular beds dilate, increasing metabolism and muscle temperatures
  • Allows the heart rate get to a workable rate for beginning exercise
  • Mentally focused on the training or competition

Cool Down Cooling down after your workout allows for a gradual recovery of heart rate and blood pressure. Cooling down should consist of 5 to 10 minutes jogging/walking to decrease the body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles. Followed by 10 minutes of static stretching. Static stretches are appropriate to the cool down as they help muscles to relax, realign muscle fibres and re-establish their normal range of movement. These stretches should be held for approximately 10 seconds. An appropriate cool down will

  • Aid in the dissipation of waste products – including lactic acid
  • Reduce the potential for Daily onset of muscle soreness ( DOMS)
  • Reduce the chances of dizziness or fainting caused by the pooling of venous blood at the extremities
  • Reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood
  • Allows the heart rate to return to its resting rate