Poor preparation - Causes of Sports Injuries

Many sporting injuries could be prevented by carrying out a thorough warm up prior to physical activity and a suitable cool down session after exercise has ceased.

The warm-up

The warm-up should be an essential part of any training session and should be carried out before all sporting activities.

Effects of a warm-up

The warm-up will increase body temperature and increase circulation of blood to the muscles; this warms the muscles and makes them loose. Warming up also enables quicker muscle contraction as well as improving the efficiency and efficacy of the use of oxygen in the body.

What should the warm-up include?

The warm-up should be a combination of stretching and cardiovascular exercises; this may include a period of jogging followed by a stretching session and some light weights, for example. Short sprints should only be carried out once a period of jogging and stretching has been completed. The warm-up should last at least 20 minutes. An effective warm-up prepares the body for exercise, increases performance levels and helps to prevent injuries.

The cool down

The cool down should take place after physical activity; it helps the body to recover.

Effects of a cool down

The cool down slows the heart rate, reduces adrenalin in the blood stream and helps to prevent a build-up of lactic acid. Doing a cool down also prevents stiffness in the muscles (this will usually be felt the day after the activity) and dizziness.

What should the cool down include?

A cool down should include light cardiovascular exercise and a series of stretches; typically, a session should consist of 10 to 15 minutes of jogging and 10 minutes of stretching; all muscles should be stretched during this time.

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