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Warm Up Cool Down

The warm-up is like an appetizer, the prep which gets the juice flowing, the heart pumping, the muscles stirring, the mind focused. On exercise. So, how do you do it? The warm-up. Walk or run easily for 10 to 15 minutes before you begin your exercise programme (the key word being 'easily'_ it doesn't do much good to pack up, tired out from a 10 minute warm-up) Allow this warm-up period to ease away minor aches, and reduce the body's initial resistance to the thought of hard work.

At times, the warm-up tells you that your body is not ready for hard physical work. You could have just recovered from a bout of flu, or that muscle pull was more serious than you thought. Learn to listen to these messages& pain is not a challenge to work harder! After the initial warm-up, some prefer to do light stretches. Spend about 5 minutes, concentrating particularly on the muscles which will be doing the most work.

Cool Down

Your heart's racing, the sweat's pouring off, your lungs are fighting for air... Your system's in overdrive. You need to cool down. Walk or jog easily, bringing your heart rate and breathing down slowly. If you're really beat, move your feet on the spot, slowing down gradually. Try not to collapse dramatically or stop suddenly.

Even racehorses are walked after races. When your heart rate is almost back to normal, it is time to stretch out those tired muscles. Hard workouts, running in particular, tightens your muscles. This is a good time to stretch because your muscles are warm and receptive. A proper stretching routine will help you to maintain flexibility and prevent injury.

Sports Injuries

Interest and participation in sports and exercise has never been higher. People are increasingly taking part in such sports as aerobic dance, swimming, racquetball, handball, biking, tennis, basketball, and other activities that add to physical fitness. Unfortunately, along with the increased participation, there has also been an increase in sport-related injuries.

We are more aware than ever of many factors that can help prevent injuries, such as protective equipment kept in good repair, a well-conditioned body, and proper warm-up prior to exercise and participation in the sport. Also, keep in mind the body's general condition, and restructure the physical activity accordingly. For example, a person who has a bad cold or an infection can make himself sicker or be more prone to injury if he doesn't adjust his workout to a certain extent.

The basic types of injury that occur in sports are acute trauma and overuse injury. The acute trauma requires immediate attention (such as a fracture or dislocation). The overuse injury is more subtle and may not be recognized at first. It occurs as a result of overtraining, improper techniques, etc. These injuries develop slowly, interfere with training, and can be slow in improving.

Examples of overuse injuries include pulled muscles, strains and sprains, and tendinitis and bursitis. Anyone who participates in sports or an exercise program needs to be aware not only of the benefits of the fitness program, but also of the high potential for injuries that may interfere with activity.


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