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You have probably heard it a few times when you were younger, especially during your Physical Education classes. Teachers always say that stretching and warming up helps your muscles get ready and lowers the risk of injury.
And it makes sense right? Doing basic exercises before any sports or physical activity should help your body get ready. But is there any scientific basis to this age-old advice?
Let’s find out!
Warming up before doing any exercise or physical activity is done by almost everyone who engages in exercise. The logic behind this is that warming up can help prevent injuries by stretching your muscles and joints, and getting your body ready for exercise.
While this is a widely held belief, and almost all sports physicians agree that warming up is important, the science behind it has not exactly been proven yet.
In fact, we still know very little about warming up, or if it is even necessary before working out or engaging in physical activity.
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According to various studies done about warming up, there might actually be some truth to the belief that it can reduce injuries.
For the most part, the results of studies have been mixed.
Most studies have shown that when athletes warm up, there is a lower risk of injury while engaging in physical activity. Meanwhile, other studies have found that there was no discernible difference between warming up and not warming up.
However, all studies show that warming up poses no risk whatsoever to people engaging in physical activity.
There is just insufficient evidence to endorse or discontinue routine warm-up prior to physical activity to prevent injury. However, the weight of evidence is in favor of a decreased risk of injury. So, why not warm up before doing exercise?
Here is a simple warm up routine that you can do before exercising or any physical activity:
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Aside from warm up exercises, cool down exercises are also important to do. Cool down exercises help slowly bring your body to rest especially after an intense workout.
Stopping suddenly after working out can cause problems as your heart is still beating fast and pumping blood throughout your body. This can cause you to pass out or feel sick since your body has not yet “cooled down”—so to speak.
Cool down exercises are pretty simple to do, and take very little effort.
By following these warm up and cool down exercises, you should be able to reduce your risk of getting injured while working out or doing sports.
Ideally, you should engage in 30 minutes of exercise daily, or at least 150 minutes of exercise each week in order to keep your body strong and healthy.
Learn more about Health and Fitness here.
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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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Does warming up prevent injury in sport? The evidence from randomised controlled trials?, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16679062/, Accessed July 15, 2020
Importance of Warming Up before Sport – Sports Injury Prevention, https://www.nsmi.org.uk/articles/injury-prevention/warming-up.html, Accessed July 15, 2020
Does warming up prevent injury in sport?: The evidence from randomised controlled trials?, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S144024400600051X, Accessed July 15, 2020
Does warming up prevent injury in sport?, https://www.jsams.org/article/S1440-2440(06)00051-X/abstract, Accessed July 15, 2020
How to warm up before exercising, https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/how-to-warm-up-before-exercising/, Accessed July 15, 2020