Why should I warm up before playing sport?

Why should I warm up before playing sport?

As someone who plays a competitive sport you may have wondered why your coach or a teammate gets you to do the same repetitive movements every time you are about to go out on the field, track or pool. You might be thinking:

Why should I warm up?

What would happen if I didn’t do this before playing sport? and

What is the best routine I can do before a sporting event?

Well today keep reading because we aim to answer all those questions and more.


What is a warm up?

A warm-up can be defined as an activity or set of activities which aims to physically prepare an individual for the demands of their sport or exercise endeavour.


Why Warm up?

  1. Increases blood flow and temperature to muscles and heart

Warming up helps the body prepare for cardiovascular and muscular activity. The warmup process allows the body to gradually increase the physical intensity on the body by raising your body’s temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles. Due to the muscle temperature being increased, it allow them to contract and relax more easily, making your body able to perform more strenuous tasks with ease.

  1. Reduces risk of injury

Sporting injuries are a common and unfortunate issue which impacts many athletes across the lifespan. Warming up prevents injuries by loosening your joints, increasing blood flow to muscles and thus making your muscles, tendons and ligaments less likely to rip, tear or rupture during your sporting event. Additionally, dynamic stretching also helps prepare your muscles and joints for the physical activities you’re about to perform.

  1. Helps you mentally prepare

Going straight into a sporting event without preparation can be jarring mentally if the pre-sport warm up has not be completed correctly. This can have dramatic negative impacts if the sport you play involves a high level of skill or concentration. Warm up time should be used to think about what needs to be done to succeed in your specific sport and can guarantee that you are ready to perform at a high level.



What happens if I don’t warm up?

Below are some of the negative impacts that can occur if you don’t warm up before an athletic event:

  1. Increased risk of injury
  2. Decreased athletic performance
  3. Increased stress on heart and lungs


What should I do in my warm up?

When starting your warm up follow these simple steps:

  1. Start with a general warm up

The general warm up should involve of light physical activity, this includes movements such as walking, jogging or cycling. The purpose of this phase of the warm up is to elevate the heart rate, and to start getting blood flow to the working muscles. This phase of the warm up should last around 5-10 minutes and the intensity should be light to moderate.

  1. Dynamic stretching

Dynamic stretching is a form of stretching which requires the participant to actively and continuously move a particular body part to the limit of its range of movement, for example: leg swings. The purpose of this is to continue to allow blood flow to working muscle and to actively stretch the joints and muscles required for athletic performance.

  1. Sport specific warm up:

As the purpose of a warm up is to prepare the body for the demands of your sport it is important that the exercises performed in the warm up correlate to what you need to do on the field, track or pool. For example, within soccer, the player needs to be able perform many movements including: running, jumping, heading and kicking. Therefore an appropriate warm up for soccer would include exercises which imitate these movements.


If you are looking for the perfect warm up for your sport, but are unsure how to start, it may help to seek an exercise professional such as an Accredited Exercise Physiologist to help. Book online or call us on 07 3352 5116 to see our  Exercise Physiologist today!

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