12 Dec Warm up and Cool Down in Sport
Several clinical studies have shown that a good warm up program can prevent injuries by 50% or more and enhance performance.
The warm-up is to prepare the body for the subsequent activity, and should consist of a combination of stretches, starting with the large muscle groups. Also include dynamic movements e.g. jogging, twisting and gradually increasing the intensity. The warm up should be sufficient to produce some mild sweating without fatigue and be approximately one quarter of your total exercise time.
The effects of a warm up can last up-to 30 minutes, so don’t warm up too early. Below is a guide in order of exercises, of a suitable warm up for football:
3 minutes jogging
5 minutes stretching all major muscle groups in body
5 minutes gentle kicking of a ball between players – gradually increasing intensity
5 minutes quick burst specific exercises eg 1 or 2 touch football in a box
3 minutes of short drills of short distance sprinting / jumping
Finally it is just as important to do a cool down after exercise to help return the body to pre-exercise conditions. This can consist of a gentle jog for a few minutes to gradually lower the heart and breathing rate and also include stretching to help relax the hard worked muscles.
Dr Zafar Iqbal
MBBS, BSc, DCH, DRCOG, MRCGP, MSc, Dip PCR, FFSEM UK
Head of Sports and Exercise Medicine Crystal Palace FC
The information provided by Dr Zafar Iqbal is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment or making any changes to existing treatment.