Warm-up is extremely crucial. A dynamic, generalized warm up is non-sport/ activity specific. These basic exercises that loosen up the entire body, increase overall blood circulation and lymphatic drainage and increase respiration. Examples of such exercises, include but are not limited to:
- High Knee Walking
- Leg Swings Squats: Lateral and Vertical
- Chin Tucks with Scapular Tightening
- Calf Raises and Toe Raises
- Wall Angels
Don’t cut corners. Be sure to stretch. The purpose of stretching is to literally lengthen the muscle. Chronically shortened muscles don’t have the same amount of contractile force and don’t perform as well as muscles that are lengthened and provide full range of motion to joints. Stretching is performed after the muscles have been significantly warmed-up. Stretching should be a combination of static and dynamic activities.
Stretching in general helps to minimize injury, increases joint range of motion, creates flexibility in the muscles and increases muscular performance. Remember that your body has to be properly hydrated (at least 2 liters of purified water a day) to be flexible.
SPORTS/ACTIVITY SPECIFIC WARM-UP
Don’t jump from stretching to sprinting. Warm-up in the activity you are about to perform and take the time to do it properly and thoroughly. This allows your nervous system to adjust the muscles’ firing patterns for the activity. This also allows your body to increase blood flow to the area in demand.
Cold muscles don’t perform well and must be warmed up with increased blood circulation. With increased blood flow, comes the necessary nutrients and oxygen needed for performance. Cold muscles are less pliable and at high risk of injury. To maximize prevention and performance, warm up your muscles!