When you participate in track and field events, it’s important to set aside time for warm ups and cool downs. These exercises help your body prepare for physical activity. When you do not take a chance to warm up before participating or cool down afterward, you increase your risk of injury. Understanding the reasons why these exercises are essential for track and field practice and meets can help ensure that you make time for them.
Importance of Warm Up Exercises
Getting ready for a track and field meet or a practice session involves setting aside some time for warming up. When you allow your body to warm up before being physically active, your blood vessels become more dilated. This helps promote a steady flow of oxygen to your muscles, which lowers your risk of tearing or injuring them. Warming up also increases the temperature of your muscles, making them more flexible. When you do exercises to warm up, this also leads to less pressure on your joints and a lower risk of injury. Warming up also allows your heart rate to increase at a slow rate rather than a fast one, lowering your risk of problems related to too much stress on the heart.
Tips for Warming Up
When you warm up before track and field activities, aim to do so for 5 to 10 minutes. The more intense your physical activity will be, the longer you should spend warming up. Choose a slow-paced activity for warming up, such as walking or using a treadmill. Be cautious about stretching, since doing so when your muscles are not warm can increase your risk of injury.
Importance of Cool Down Exercises
When you’re finished with track practice or a meet, it’s just as essential to give your body a chance to cool down afterward. Cooling down helps ensure that your blood continues to flow at a healthy rate instead of dropping suddenly. When you do not cool down after track and field activities, your blood pressure and your heart rate can abruptly drop, which can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded. In severe cases, you could get sick or end up fainting.
Tips for Cooling Down
When you cool down after track and field events, do some gentle stretching exercises to improve your flexibility and reduce your risk of injury. Keep in mind that you should hold stretches for 15 to 30 seconds at a time, but do not push your muscles too far. You can also do light cardio exercises, such as walking or running. Cooling down should take about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how active you were during your track and field activities.
If you have an injury from track and field or any other sporting activities, please seek medical attention sooner rather than later. At PrimeCare Urgent Care we offer several services to help diagnose and heal your injury. Don't just visit us during your time of injury, stop by before your sporting season begins for a sports physical.