We have proof: warm-ups reduce injuries by almost half

20 minutes to get the blood and body parts moving will keep you in the game
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20 minutes to get the blood and body parts moving will keep you in the game

An old, yet oft-ignored piece of advice, “Warm up before you do anything,” may become required protocol now that a new study has put some bite behind it. Earlier this month the British Medical Journal published the results of research on close to 1,900 female soccer players in Norway. Of the group, a little over 800 were asked to follow a 20-minute routine of slow and speed running, along with key strength, balance and agility exercises. As a result, the women suffered from significantly fewer severe injuries, overuse injuries, and injuries over all.

Sounds great, and if I was playing in a soccer or hockey league, or trying to wake up my body before lining up for the first chair of the morning at the ski hill, I might follow the advice from this study. But that’s a lot of time to take from me. Honestly, I’d rather warm up by doing whatever sport I want, but use the first 20 minutes of a run, ride, hike, climb or whatever to loosen up my joints and muscles. I suspect that I’m not alone. These days, I’m lucky if my entire workout lasts longer than 30 minutes.

While I know that I can gain some benefit from 10-minutes of high-intensity work, I don’t know if it’d be all that satisfying, ya know?

I will admit that I’ve noticed it takes me about 20 minutes for my body to come into form on a run or ride. So maybe the researchers are onto something with their call for such a long ramp-up to full speed, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this long acceleration to full speed has more to do with my age than anything else. 

Whatever the case, this study finally puts some numbers behind a protocol we all sorta knew made sense. If all this study does is cause the warm-up to go from discarded to religion, it'll be a good thing.

Source: Science Daily