As a physiotherapist, I spend a lot of my time giving out advice on what my patients should or should not be doing to prevent injuries when they are engaging in activities that they love doing. However, I am only human, and I am guilty of not always practising what I preach to my patients. Let’s go on a flash back to around 3 years ago.
I had just joined Spartans Boxing gym. After a while, I decided that I wanted to challenge myself by attending early morning classes. I wanted to make this change as I thought that it would help me start my day better and build some boxing discipline. Another plus point was that 7am classes were always quieter!
However, during one of the morning sessions, I was struck by the misfortune of pulling my right inner thigh muscle 10 minutes into the class and was in agony for the rest of the session. Fast forward to later that afternoon when I was at work, I pulled my left thigh muscle when coming out of a lunge position whilst I was with a patient.
On reflection after that eventful day, I realised that the injuries happened because I had not taken the time to warm up my body before the start of the class and that had carried on throughout my working day. In the past, I was a person who trained after work when my body was already warmed up from work and other activities I get up to during the day. On hindsight, this was a fact that I had disregarded as I dove into doing the morning trainings. I realised that my 7am body was a lot cooler in comparison to my post-work body. A silly mistake and one that does not look good for a physiotherapist! But hey, we all learn from mistakes.
Let me share with you why it is important for you to warm-up properly prior to your classes and what happens to your body when you do, so that you can prevent injuries unlike myself.
1. Warm-ups wake up our muscles and activate the body.
This increases muscle and tendon compliance and ensures that the body is prepared for what the session might entail. This helps to increase performance during the main workout.
2. When we do our warm-ups, our muscle temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate rises.
This elevates the blood flow and oxygenation to muscles and accelerates our metabolic reactions. This improves power generation and anaerobic energy turnover for more powerful punches.
3. A warm-up blunts lactate response during main workout.
This slows lactic acid building up which means we can manage our workout for longer and not fatigue easily.
4. Warming up your body improves nerve conductions.
This means that your reflexes become faster to better avoid that nasty jab.
Ultimately, warm-ups mean better workouts. They are a necessary part of an anyone’s training program, athlete or amateur, as they prepare the muscles and the neural system for the session ahead, hence lowering the risk of injuries, and at the same time, improving your performance during your training sessions, fight, or competitions. Even if you do get injured, your injuries may not be as bad.
Now that you know why warm-ups are important, keep your eyes peeled for Warm Ups Matter- Part 2, for top tips to get the best out of your warm-up session.
By Kajal Kirpalani, BSc Physiotherapy. Kajal works as a Physiotherapist at The Physio Circle which is a rehabilitative clinic that strives to empower individuals to “Take Charge” of their injuries, health, and well-being so that you can still enjoy what you love doing. Read more about them here: www.physiocircle.sg
2. https://www.physio-network.com/blog/what-stretching-does-and-does-not-do/ https://www.physio-network.com/research-reviews/other/effectiveness-of-warm-up-intervention-programs-to-prevent-sports-injuries-among-children-and-adolescents-a-systematic-review-and-meta-analysis/