Whatever your chosen exercise activity – whether you compete at a high level like Javier, or simply take part in sports as a fun way to socialise and stay healthy – warm ups and warm downs are crucial for performing at your best and protecting yourself against injury.
That’s why we’ve chosen leading physiotherapists to offer tips and key insights for your pre and post work outs. After all, a few extra steps in your routine can really make the difference.
Most of the world’s best athletes find their sporting passions early in life, and gaining early competitive experience can make a huge difference later on. But it’s also important for young sports men and women to be smart in their approach. Make sure your muscles and joints are fully warmed up before exercise sessions to ensure you achieve your best. It can help protect you against long injury lay-offs so you can keep on learning, improving and best of all, having fun.
Remember to pace yourself and not get carried away too early in the activity. Conserving energy levels is something older athletes learn with experience, and it can help you maintain a steady pace through to the finish line. Making smart practice a part of your training routine early in your development will give you the best chances of success in later years. Who knows where it might lead?
The need for the right pre and post exercise preparation is even more important for the over 40s. Repetitive strains and muscle pulls can take longer to heal up fully, but making a few simple adjustments to your normal routine can help you get the most from your chosen sport whilst avoiding long lay-offs.
For older athletes, a nutritious diet is key to staying healthy and performing at your best. Eating more green vegetables and alkalising fruits (such as mango, papaya, melon and dates) helps minimise acidity levels in your body and will decrease the rate you lose muscle tissue and bone density. It’s also a good idea to slow down on more explosive or speed-based sports, and focus instead on strength and power workouts.
The warm up stage steadily increases your heart rate and lung function, pumping the blood around the body in preparation for your activity. Practice a range of sport-specific movements to help loosen the muscle groups you’ll need and make pulls and muscle tears less likely. The warm down stage should consist of similar movements but at a much lower speed and intensity, where the focus is on stretching and relaxing the muscle.
You’ll be surprised to read, that cycling puts most stress on your lower back. Your wrists can be affected as well as your knees and calf muscles – bear this is mind when warming up and down.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Post training or competition you’ll need to warm down:
If you’re looking to continue your training, consider using a brace or support. The FUTURO Performance Knee support helps provide support to stiff, weak or injured knee. For ankles the FUTURO™ Comfort Ankle Support provides immediate compression, and is ideal for general support and low impact activities. For wrists the FUTURO™ Sports Wrist Support is for athletic activities and to support a stiff, weak or injured wrist.
Swimming needs a more generalised, whole body warm up of about 10-15 minutes. Pay special attention to the mobility in your shoulders and trunk. You can combine poolside and in-pool activities.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Swimming tends to exert less stress on joints and muscles but considering using a brace or support might be beneficial during training. The FUTURO™ All Activity Wrist Stabilizer stabilizes and supports sore, weak or injured wrist - even in wet environments.
Running is a high impact sport, so it’s no surprise that it’s the activity that causes more injuries and overloads than any other. Warming up and down is key to successful training and competing. Your warm up should be 10-15 minutes long. Start with a jog and exercises aimed at increasing your range of motion.
Then get specific:
Even with warming up and down, injuries and sprains can occur – consider why the injury may have happened in the first place – a change of technique or training schedule could help. In the run up to a goal or competition when you really don’t want to stop, a brace or support can provide support to certain body parts, in and out of training. The FUTURO™ Performance Ankle Stabilizer helps stabilize and support weak, sore or injured ankles. FUTURO™ Knee Supports can support stiff, weak or injured knees and the FUTURO™ Performance Knee Stabilizer provides stabilization for injured or unstable knee while active.