By James de Klerk
As we get to the start of October, the weather has taken a strange turn … or several strange turns, as it were. Some days feel like they belong in summer and others remind us how fickle seasoned Australians can be in mild coldness. This got me thinking about the effects these temperature changes have on our bodies.
Everyone knows that it is important to warm up before commencing ANY sort of physical exertion (I hope!!…) and we’ve all got the basic stretches down pat from sports as a child, but is that really the way to go? Stretching before actually warming your muscles up is like trying to stretch a rubber band from the freezer; the elasticity is all gone and you will become more prone to muscle injuries.
Tracksuits weren’t just made to make us look like we’re professionals; even if you’re comfortable in the current temperature, your muscles may be a little tight without you realising so it’s always a good idea to wear something warm even if you aren’t feeling the cold.
Next comes a few light exercises such as power walking or a slow jog for a minute or two for a bit of circulation. This helps pump warmer blood to the muscles in question and in turn increases the elasticity which decreases the risk of a pull or injury.
After we’ve started to raise our core temperature we need to keep it that way. Consequently, dynamic warm ups are the best option to maintain or even increase temperature. Movements such as jumping jacks, squats, lunges, a few push ups and a couple minutes on a skipping rope are just some examples of dynamic warm up exercises. Needless to say, each person’s warm up will be different based on their ability and other factors (age, previous injuries etc.)
The basic theme of these exercises is ensuring that multiple muscle groups are used at the same time. Once you feel warm and energised (maybe you’ll even be starting to sweat!) then you are ready commence your exercise!
Most people will do a few stretches they learnt in PE class in high school, go for a one minute jog and get straight into it! Don’t be that person who just glosses over a good warm up. My coach always told me “If you don’t have time for a warm up, then you don’t have time to work out!”
So PLEASE look after yourself and have a proper warm up. It is highly beneficial in the short and long run.
See you out on the tennis court … all nice and warm of course!!