Did you see the article that Jane wrote for Ribble Valley Live? If you missed it, read on below. Lots of top tips!
On the back of the Olympic #getinspired many of us are now looking to get involved in some sporting activities. This month we look at the all-important warm up, which is often overlooked but plays an essential role in injury prevention and performance.
Warm ups start with cardiovascular exercises lasting 5-10 minutes (or until you have broken a light sweat). This raises the body’s core and muscle temperature enough to enhance the elasticity of muscles, tendons, ligaments and overall joint structures. Light jogging, skipping or a speed ladder using different footwork patterns keeps you mentally prepared for your workout and also increases both the heart and respiratory rate, increasing blood flow delivering oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles, tendons and ligaments in preparation for more strenuous activity. This can then be made more sports specific with activities reflecting the type of movements and actions which will be required during the sporting event.
Although research has shown that static stretching may have an adverse effect on muscle contraction speed, it does have a place in helping to lengthen both muscles and tendons, allowing joints a greater range of movement limiting muscle and tendon injuries. Static stretching involves slowly easing into the stretch position, avoiding pain and holding that position for up to 20 seconds. They are best done once the muscles are warm .
The next phase is the dynamic warm-up, or movement preparation. Dynamic stretches involve continuous movements which keeps the muscles warm, improving range of motion and activating the muscles and nervous system you use during your workout. For example, a lunge with a twist is a dynamic stretching exercise that engages your hips,
legs, and core muscles as well as challenging body awareness and your balance and coordination. Other examples are squats, monster walks. Finally it prepares the mind for the workout ahead.
The entire dynamic warm-up can be done in as little as five minutes or as long as 20 minutes, depending your goals, age, and fitness level.
Knee hug: While walking forward, hug your left knee into your chest, then step and repeat on the right leg, continuing with alternate legs. This is an excellent way to loosen up the glutes and hips.
Quad walk: While walking forwards, pull your left heel in to your buttocks, then step and repeat with the right leg, continuing with alternate legs. This is ideal for loosening up the quadriceps and hip flexors.
Low lunge: Step forward with your left leg into a lunge position (ankles, knees, hips and shoulders facing forward, torso upright) trying to place your left elbow on the ground as close to your left heel as possible.