Heading to a game, immediately running onto the court, and playing is a quick way to end up with an injury and a shortened season.
Warm-ups and cool-downs are essential to help your body handle the stresses of a game. Beside injury prevention, both are imperative for increased flexibility, better strength, and enhanced blood flow. A proper warm-up allows for a gentle increase in activity, raising body heat and preparing tendons and ligaments for the game. A cool-down after a fast past game allows your body to slowly return heart rate to normal and provides an opportunity to flush waste products from the muscles used back into the circulatory system.
Unfortunately, just running to and from the car for a couple minutes before and after a game isn’t quite enough. A proper warm up moves the body in multiple directions and planes of movement (not just forward and backward), mimics the movements that will be used in the game, and starts slow and then progresses to harder more complicated movements. Similarly, a good cool-down involves soft-tissue work and stretching out the tight areas affected by the game.
To build a proper warm-up, start with a few minutes of walking and then jogging and take notice of the areas that are tight and need a little more attention. Then, select 4-6 movements that incorporate forward and backward, side to side and twisting motions similar to those performed in a game. Perform them back to back with little rest in between to raise your heart rate and increase your flexibility. Then move on to more complex movement patterns which may include some of the movements already performed but this time with the ball to warm the hands and fingers.
After your game, cool-down with a few minutes of easy jogging then walking to allow for a gentle slowing of the heart rate and to increase circulation. Then, hit the static stretching to work on areas used during game. Some of the muscles you might want to include are the gluteals, hamstrings, calf muscles, quadriceps and hip flexors. This will help to flush away waste products and decrease recovery time before the next training and game. Lastly, use a foam roller on exceptionally tight areas to restore muscle length if you have one at home.
Give Amy a call at Crystal Street Family Chiropractic - (Chiropractor in Edgecliff and Petersham) to discuss a stretching routine or if you have any injuries needing treatment.
Sponsor of Summer Hill Lakers Netball Club