While most players at any level understand the importance of warming up before games or training sessions, the significance of warming down is sometimes lost. Therefore, here are some tips and advice for young players to illustrate the risks you run by not warming up.
One of the most important functions of the post-match warm down is to prevent dizziness as strenuous exercise causes the blood vessels in your legs to expand, bringing more blood into the legs and feet. When a game ends and you do not warm down your heart rate slows down and blood pools in the bottom half of your body causing dizziness and, potentially, fainting.
Stretching after a game is pivotal in improving your flexibility over time which in turn improves your overall ability to prevent injury. The science in this lies in stretching while your muscles are warm, as they are directly after exercise. Stretching every major muscle group after a game, holding each stretch for 10 – 20 seconds while breathing throughout will achieve this. You should not feel any pain but should feel tension in the muscle being stretched.
The overall goal of a warm down is to gradually bring your heart rate back down to its resting level by keeping your activity going but at a steady, declining speed. Players who have warmed down after a game have been shown to have lesser levels of fatigue the following day.
Not warming down leaves yourself vulnerable to suffering from muscle injuries in the future and keeps your body fatigued for longer.
A Young Pro looks after their body at all times!