How important are warm ups?

by DI Guest

We would like to introduce David Down as someone that can help work and advise our members at fitMK.

He is a sports therapist working in Milton Keynes and is the guy that the chief DI Simon goes to see.  He works with everyone from the habitual jogger right up to top athletes and professional sports teams. 

We asked David his take on warm ups and how important they were and this is what he had to say: 

"Exercises is so important! it allows us to stay fit, healthy and positive.  However, there is always the possibility of injury when we exercise, and that’s where I step in. Some people will claim there are certain ‘injury prevention’ methods out there. Realistically, all we aim to do is reduce the risk of getting injured. A good way of doing this is ensuring that we warm-up our muscles properly, before going into any strenuous activity. 

Having worked in professional football for the past 4 years, I've experienced many different warm-up routines, and know the most effective ways of preparing our body for stresses of exercise. Below are the three most important components of an effective warm up. 

Pulse Raiser 

This includes anything to get your heart rate up, before starting the really hard work. Light jogging, skipping and cycling are all good examples of this. It is always worth doing some multidirectional work too, if the main activity requires any change of direction. The idea behind this is to get your heart rate up to similar levels required of the main activity, allowing the blood to be effectively pumped to the appropriate muscles. 

Dynamic Stretching

Research has shown that static stretching before exercise can actually reduce muscle power, which may not be the best idea before a competitive event. Instead, hip swings; shoulder rotations and calf pumps are all great ideas to dynamically stretch the muscles, with the idea of increasing range of motion within a joint. Thus reducing the risk of injury caused by muscle tightness without compromising on power output.

Muscle Activation:

Finally, it is important that we switch on our muscles, before we go out and use them. I would always start with a set of press ups, sit ups, squats and calf raises before progressing into some single leg work, balancing drills and some explosive movements. This will ensure that our muscles are engaged, meaning they are already fired up and ready to go before moving onto our main activity, which will reduce the risk of any serious muscle strains."

Warming up effectively is so important especially as we go into the cooler months so please turn up a few minutes early before the session starts and begin the process that when the class starts and the instructors do the entire group warm up - you are already halfway there because you have done your own little drills.

If you would like to find out more about David or indeed make an appointment to see him then visit:  

daviddown.co.uk 

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