Article by Eric Doak, Physiotherapist.
From a standpoint of injury prevention, today’s recreational athlete is not doing enough to help minimize the chances of becoming sidelined. Typically what happens is we show up 15minutes prior to game time, quickly get ready and perform a very archaic warm up just before the game starts. This does nothing to help prime the body for what typically is the most intensive exercise performed during the week.
I’ve been there myself, as I have played adult league hockey ever since I finished my minor hockey league career. It’s always tough to break a habit and if there is just one thing that I would encourage people to do before their sporting event it’s to create a more dynamic approach to their warm up. It is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle to minimize your chances of becoming injured.
The two main physiological reasons to warm up:
- Get blood flowing to the bodies’ tissues (muscle, tendon, joints) to increase their resiliency to load
- Prime the nervous system to improve motor control and force production
These two variables increase the window for what a tissue can tolerate before it reaches its failure point on the stress/strain curve. Hence, increasing your body’s own protective mechanisms to withstand load.
Here are a few simple movement patterns that can be performed prior to lacing up or before any athletic endeavour. You only need to run through this as a circuit 2-3 times to get the desirable benefits of a dynamic warm-up.
- Single leg walking toe touches
- Butt Kicks and High Knees
- Lateral leaps with single leg catch
- Star Pattern Lunges
Try it out, there’s a reason why professional athletes start each on-ice session doing a few drills in the hallway. I bet you will feel more energized and ready to start when the puck drops.
Eric Doak, MPT, CAFCI