The warmup period prior to doing a sport is essential, as it helps prepare your body for the activity and reduces the risk of injury. While the warmup will vary depending on the type of activity, certain basic principles apply, regardless of the sport.
Why do a warmup?
In the most literal sense, the warmup serves to increase your body temperature from its resting temperature of approximately 36°C to around 39°C.
- Muscles and tendons work more efficiently when they are warmer.
- The increased heat causes blood vessels to dilate, which helps them carry more blood to the muscles.
- The fluid in joints becomes more liquid as body temperature increases, which improves range of movement.
A warmup also helps the body prepare to supply more oxygen and energy to the muscles by speeding up breathing and heartrate.
It is also an important step that allows you to prepare mentally for the physical exertion to come.
The specific warmup focuses on the muscles and joints that are used most during the exercise. For example, practicing your swing and approach shots before a round of golf, or doing some dribbling drills before a game of soccer.
The duration of the warmup depends on a number of factors, including the duration of the activity itself, and the intensity level. As a rule of thumb, for 60 minutes of activity, your warmup should be approximately 10 minutes.
Other factors may also have an impact on the duration of the warmup. For instance, an outdoor activity in colder temperatures (15°C or colder) requires a longer warmup.
Lastly, the warmup may need to be longer, to take into account your physical condition.