The importance of warming up
n the past, it was recommended that athletes stretch before taking action (that is, to maintain certain postures for 20 to 30 seconds, statically). However, research has shown that performing static stretching before exercising results in a decrease in performance. Static stretching sends a message to the brain and the nervous system that the body activity is slowing down rather than picking up. This prepares the body more for sleep than for sport!
What should be done then to prepare the body for the activity? Warm up!
Warming up before practicing your favorite sport allows you to:
- Prevent injuries
- Optimize our performance
The warm-up consists of moving for 3 to 5 minutes: walking, light jogging, stationary cycling. Subsequently, it is recommended to make low intensity and amplitude movements which are similar to the sport that one is about to practice.
- For golf: we walk a little, we move our shoulders, we simulate a swing with our stick without hitting a ball.
- For tennis: we run a light jog for a few minutes. We then make light forehands and backhands with our racket in the air. Afterwords we progress to making small exchanges with a partner, without hitting the ball to hard.
- For jogging or brisk walking: we just run or walk, but at a slow pace, before gradually increasing the intensity.
The total duration of our warm-up should vary between 5 and 15 minutes, including the initial activation period (walking, jogging, cycling) and the more specific sports movements that will follow. The more intense the activity will be, the longer the warm-up.
The warm-up period will therefore help to relax the joints and muscles, which can help to prevent injuries. Also, this will result in activating and preparing of the nervous system for physical activity, which can improve our athletic performance!
Some people are embarrassed to warm up, but we must remember that all elite athletes do it! So, why neglect it?
So, amateurs or athletes, let’s tell ourselves, before doing sports we warm up!