When stepping into the Physical Education and sport setting, it is very common to see teachers and coaches begin their class or practice with static stretching. Teachers and coaches most commonly begin their lesson/practice with static stretching in hopes to help their students prevent injury while participating in their physical activity. Although stretching is an important component to physical activity, there is still one key element that should be executed before stretching; that key element being engaging in a warm up activity. Along with beginning with a warm-up activity, it is important that teachers and coaches have their students end their lesson/practice with a cool-down activity as well. Within this paper, there are many subtopics that will be discussed such as definitions of warm-up/cool-down activities, the various types and benefits of these activities, as well as stretching included with its harms and benefits to physical activity. Being educated in this topic is very important not only in preventing injury for young students and athletes, but also for adults and senior citizens in helping them maintain a healthy and physically active lifestyle.
A warm-up activity is defined as a low-level activity that is completed prior to stretching and more strenuous exercise (Avest, 2010). The main purpose of a warm-up activity is to increase heart rate and blood circulation throughout the body. When blood circulation is increased throughout the body, a raise in body and deep muscle temperatures are elevated which in return heat up the muscles, ligaments and tendons in preparation for vigorous activity. Along with increasing blood circulation and body temperature, warm-up activities also helps one mentally and emotionally prepare for the main activity (Ladwig, 2013).
The most common types of warm-up activities that can be implemented are dynamic activities; dynamic exercises help prepare the body for physical education instruction, athletic performances and competitions. These various dynamic activities include low, moderate and high intensity locomotor and nonlocmotor skills such as jumping, hopping, skipping, running as well as other upper-and-lower-body movements to help elevate core body temperature, maximize active ranges of motion and excite motor units and kinesthetic awareness (Faigenbaum and McFarlane, 2007). A specific time duration and intensity of a warm-up activity has no set recommendation for every program, however, it should be adjusted according to the environmental temperature as well as the length of activity time as a whole. According research, an adequate warm-up can lasts anywhere from 5-10 minutes along with an increase in body and muscle temperature at approximately one to two degrees Fahrenheit.
A proper-warm up provides many benefits to an individual before engaging in main instruction physical activity; the biggest benefit that warm-up activities offer in physical activity is injury prevention (Murphy, Di...