“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
As gyms start to open in your area and the weather warms up, many of you may be considering re-starting your workout regimen. At Axes Physical Therapy, we see a ton of sports-related injuries, and we want to help all of you with injury PREVENTION as you ramp up your exercise routine! One of the most important components of a workout is what you do before and after you exercise.
Many research studies have proven that a dynamic (active) warm-up helps with performance and even possible injury prevention. Conversely, static muscle stretching is best performed after exercise, with warm muscles. Stretching after a workout helps release lactic acid (that annoying enzyme that causes muscle soreness) and obtain the optimal amount of muscle lengthening.
No matter your fitness level, we at Axes have a few recommendations for you! Take a few minutes and read below for a few tips and ideas for warming up and cooling down after exercise.
Try to perform 5-15 mins prior to exercise. Start with some general activities followed by activities that mimic the movements you will perform during your workout. Some examples are listed below, but there are many other dynamic warm-up options available.
- Forward Lunge with Rotation (x5ea)
- Forward Skipping 50, 70 and 90%
- Lateral skipping
- Arm Circles (thumbs up) – x10 each way
- Arm Hugs (thumbs up) – x10
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends stretching a muscle for at least 15-30 seconds, 2-4 repetitions. Pick several stretches from the selection below, targeting the muscles you used during your workout.
- Seated trapezius stretch
- Shoulder stretch
- Triceps stretch
- Lower back stretch
- Hip flexor stretch
- Hamstring stretch
- Quadriceps stretch
- Calf stretch
Schedule your appointment at one of our 11 Greater St. Louis area locations or via a Telehealth injury screening.
About the Author: Brandi Arndt, MPT. Like many who become physical therapists, Brandi was a patient herself and underwent rehabilitation in order to continue playing sports. Her interest led her to receive a Masters in Physical Therapy from Maryville University in 2008. Since then, she has been practicing and working with children and athletes who’ve undergone complex orthopedic procedures. To schedule an appointment with Brandi, request an appointment online today.
- McCrary JM, Ackermann BJ, Halaki M. A systematic review of the effects of upper body warm-up on performance and injury. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2015;49(14):935-942.
- Behm DG, Chaouachi A. A review of the acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on performance. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2011;111(11):2633-2651.
- Arroll B. Review: stretching before or after exercise does not prevent muscle soreness or reduce risk of injury. Evidence-Based Medicine. 2003;8(2):54-54.
- Heath EH. ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 7th Edition. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2005;37(11):2018