As we prepare for the Wales V Samoa clash on Friday evening, spare a thought for the warm up routines required prior to the match.
Whether you’re a gym regular, or taking up a new sport, you’ll want to be sure that injury doesn’t interrupt your fitness routine.
Warming up before working out or playing sport — and cooling down afterwards — can help you avoid injury – especially if you build in a few exercises that help prepare your body for the type of activity you’re about to undertake.
While the benefits of exercise strongly outweigh the risks, it’s important to recognise that sports injuries can occur and can affect all joints, muscles and ligaments. The nature of the activity can determine which joints are most at risk. Tennis, for example, increases the risk of shoulder problems, whereas running and football can increase the likelihood of knee and ankle injuries.
By warming up before exercise you increase blood flow to muscles and other soft tissues gradually, which is an important factor in avoiding damage to ligaments, muscles, joints and tendons.
A general warm up should include five to ten minutes of light cardiovascular activity, such as fast walking or slow jogging, to increase your heart rate gradually, promote blood flow to your muscles and supply them with more oxygen.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting sports specific warm up techniques that will help you to avoid injuries for a variety of different sports, including tennis, football, running, jogging and cycling!