- Before starting any type of activity, you must prepare your body in order to avoid any injuries. Whether it’s to take a walk or play tennis, your muscles need to know what type of efforts will be required of them, just like when you get out of bed in the morning and progressively start your day.
- The main goal of warming up your muscles is to get your blood circulating so that oxygen is optimal and carbon dioxide & metabolic waste are quickly disposed of. Also, the nervous system must be able to respond rapidly if a violent muscle contraction is required, like running on a tennis court for instance. The muscle envelop also needs to lubricate with a good warm-up.
- The first part of a warm-up is to gradually increase the body temperature by light jogging, cycling, jumping, etc. This should be done for at least 2 minutes, or until the body starts to sweat.
- In the second part of the warm-up, it’s best to choose body movements which promote muscle contractions such as push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, squats, etc. You can also choose exercises such as extended squats (by positioning your legs in a large “V” shape), sitting or standing. This should be done for at least 3 to 4 minutes. You can sustain injury by stretching before a sport because when doing any type of activity, the muscles must contract to help you move. A muscle is like a multitude of caterpillars which contracts along a long straw. If you stretch your muscles, it will be difficult for them to contract efficiently and this can result in a muscle strain.
- Finally, you must shadow the activity you are about to do before you actually do it. Let me explain what I mean by using golf as an example. You start by placing your body in your swing position without any ball and reproduce the exact movement you will be doing by using only 50% of effort of the actual movement. You then progress to 75% of the effort to finally move up to 90%. Next, you place your golf ball and do the real movement but only at 50% effort, then at 75%, and finally at 90% effort. You finish with a few swings of iron and a few puts.
- So there you have it! Now you are ready to safely start your activity! Have fun!
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