The part of practice that every athlete hates is the warm up. Most don’t even warm up or stretch, and just begin playing immediately. But it has been found that with the proper warm up that the amount of athlete injurys can be decreased.
Scientists discovered this past fall that coach-led neuromuscular warm-up training before athelets are exposed to playing helps reduces lower-extremity injuries. Cynthia R. LaBella, MD, from the Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, and colleagues conudcted a study that invited coaches, and out of all the coaches invited 90 completed the study, representing 105 teams.
The warm up combines progressive strengthening with plyometric, balance, and agility exercises. Compared with athletes who were not properlly warmed up, the coaches who implemented the warm up before every practice had a 44% decrease in acute noncontact lower-extremity injuries and a 34% decrease in noncontact ankle sprains among players in the intervention group.
I completely agree with this study. I know from history and tons of experience playing a sport that without stretching you increase your risks at cramping, pulling, tearing, twisting and tweaking anything on your body. Warming up before you become involved in any type of exercise helps to loosen your muscles. It alsohelps to gradually get your body ready to increase the high amounts of energy that it is about to use.
Other experts have found that warming up before a practice is very important for the following reasons:
- Increased movement of blood through your tissues, making the muscles more pliable.
- Increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. This prevents you from getting out of breath early or too easily.
- Prepares your muscles for stretching
- Prepares your heart for an increase in activity, preventing a rapid increase in blood pressure
- Prepares you mentally for the upcoming exercise
- Primes your nerve-to-muscle pathways to be ready for exercise
- Improved coordination and reaction times
As an amateur athlete you don’t spend much time thinking or researching the benefits that warming up can do for your body. Most think of it as tedious and a waste of time. Thats why it is very important to have coaches or any person incharge follow through on making sure that their players are properly warmed up and stretched before they begin to play. This is the perfect way to make sure that your athletes are preparing themselves physically and mentally.