Warm up / cool down
In athletics, and fitness in general, the importance of the warm-up and cool down are stressed by coaches, trainers and physical therapists alike. The specifics of both the warm-up and cool down are where things get a little subjective - according to several recent studies a little pre-match jog and some post-match ice isn’t always going to cut it!
A study looking at amateur soccer player’s warm-ups was broken into two categories: a light 10 minute callisthenic program, and a more vigorous program. Scientists discovered that those who participated in the longer, more vigorous warm-up had a 40% lower chance of injury.
Furthermore, the more specific the warm-up to the athlete’s sport, the more prepared they are for practice or match play and subsequently the less likely they are to develop an injury. Implementing warm-up habits like this at a young age during youth sports has the potential to benefit high level athletes as they progress.
As for the cool down - icing and taking anti-inflammatories may not be as helpful as we had once thought! Icing and ice baths can help psychologically with soreness, but recent studies do not show inflammation reduction at a cellular level after this cooling. Alternately, warming and carbohydrate consumption following physical exertion have shown reductions in muscle tension. Warming increases the muscle’s uptake of carbohydrates, helping to prevent cramping and release the uric acid buildup that leads to soreness.
Always consult your friendly Atlas Physical Therapist or medical professional before starting a new work out routine.