Preparation is everything

  • Whatever your chosen exercise activity – whether you compete at a high level like Javier, or simply take part in sports as a fun way to socialise and stay healthy – warm ups and warm downs are crucial for performing at your best and protecting yourself against injury.

    That’s why we’ve chosen leading physiotherapists to offer tips and key insights for your pre and post work outs. After all, a few extra steps in your routine can really make the difference.


Tips for Younger people


Best sporting practice starts early

  • Javier Gómez Noya Stretching Against A Tree

    Most of the world’s best athletes find their sporting passions early in life, and gaining early competitive experience can make a huge difference later on. But it’s also important for young sports men and women to be smart in their approach. Make sure your muscles and joints are fully warmed up before exercise sessions to ensure you achieve your best. It can help protect you against long injury lay-offs so you can keep on learning, improving and best of all, having fun.

    Remember to pace yourself and not get carried away too early in the activity. Conserving energy levels is something older athletes learn with experience, and it can help you maintain a steady pace through to the finish line. Making smart practice a part of your training routine early in your development will give you the best chances of success in later years. Who knows where it might lead?

Top tips for under 40s:

Tip 1
If you can, work with a coach. Their experience and advice on technique, strategy, training programmes, nutrition and sports psychology will help you progress faster.
Tip 2
Develop your technique, then your fitness. Learning the correct technique before increasing your performance will ensure you the best results at a lower risk of injury. It’s the foundation skill set and series of movements you’ll continue to add to and improve on throughout the years. Your economy of motion will be better which, in turn, will help you preserve energy for when you need it most.
Tip 3
Increase the volume of your training slowly and steadily. If the intensity of your training sessions is increased too quickly, the risk of slowing down your progression through injuries or strains will be much higher. Give your body the time and rest it needs to adapt steadily.
Tip 4
Patience is key. It takes time and dedication to learn effective strategies and techniques. There will be good days and bad, so don’t be too frustrated by disappointments – they’re important opportunities to learn!
Tip 5
Be confident in your abilities! Remember that even the best athletes had to start somewhere. Time and practice are crucial in mastering your chosen sport.
Tip 6
First speed, then resistance. Sports that require short bursts of speed and energy are better suited for younger athletes as the resistance needed for endurance sports is often developed over time.
Tip 7
Have fun! Always remember why you race. Don’t do it to impress others – do it for yourself. Whether it’s for a personal challenge, chasing your dream, making new friends or getting in great physical shape, do it because you enjoy it.

Tips for Older People


It’s never too late to get better

  • People Stretching

    The need for the right pre and post exercise preparation is even more important for the over 40s. Repetitive strains and muscle pulls can take longer to heal up fully, but making a few simple adjustments to your normal routine can help you get the most from your chosen sport whilst avoiding long lay-offs.

    For older athletes, a nutritious diet is key to staying healthy and performing at your best. Eating more green vegetables and alkalising fruits (such as mango, papaya, melon and dates) helps minimise acidity levels in your body and will decrease the rate you lose muscle tissue and bone density. It’s also a good idea to slow down on more explosive or speed-based sports, and focus instead on strength and power workouts.

Top tips for over 40s:

Tip 1
Workouts should leave you tired but not outright exhausted. Stop early before reaching your limit.
Tip 2
Avoid more than three intense workouts per week. Sometimes two is plenty.
Tip 3
Pay attention to your body’s recovery times and do the amount of training that’s right for you. If it’s taking you longer to recover between sessions, slow down the intensity or regularity of your training.
Tip 4
Train intensively for 2-3 weeks, then take a week off to fully rest and recuperate.
Tip 5
Support yourself. Using the right support straps or braces can help protect weakened joints or recurring muscle problems. There’s no reason why you can’t take part in your favourite activities as long as you have the right equipment and you stay fit and active.

Tips for warm up and warm down


  • The warm up stage steadily increases your heart rate and lung function, pumping the blood around the body in preparation for your activity. Practice a range of sport-specific movements to help loosen the muscle groups you’ll need and make pulls and muscle tears less likely. The warm down stage should consist of similar movements but at a much lower speed and intensity, where the focus is on stretching and relaxing the muscle.

Bike better

  • Javier Gómez Noya Carrying Bike

    You’ll be surprised to read, that cycling puts most stress on your lower back. Your wrists can be affected as well as your knees and calf muscles – bear this is mind when warming up and down.

    Here are some tips to get you started:

     

    • Start with a non-specific warm up like a light jog.
    • Now get on your bike. Over five minutes work up to a slight sweat or until you’re mildly out of breath. Do this by increasing the resistance on a stationary bike, or find some hills to create intervals of work and rest – this can be done with intervals of speed if you’re on the flat.
    • Add ‘out of seat’ fast paced intervals to your warm up – resting in the seated position.
    • Push on your upper limbs while tilting the bike from side to side.
    • If you can, alternate between pushing on the pedals with your toe and heel.

    Post training or competition you’ll need to warm down:

     

    • Keep cycling for a few minutes in the standing position.
    • Once off your bike stretch and extend your legs and trunk.
    • For preventing or reducing back pain do repetitions of lumbar spine extensions and the ‘cobra pose’ – arching backwards from the waist.

     

    If you’re looking to continue your training, consider using a brace or support. The FUTURO Performance Knee support helps provide support to stiff, weak or injured knee. For ankles the FUTURO™ Comfort Ankle Support provides immediate compression, and is ideal for general support and low impact activities. For wrists the FUTURO™ Sports Wrist Support is for athletic activities and to support a stiff, weak or injured wrist.

Swim better

  • Javier Gómez Noya Swimming

    Swimming needs a more generalised, whole body warm up of about 10-15 minutes. Pay special attention to the mobility in your shoulders and trunk. You can combine poolside and in-pool activities.

    Here are some tips to get you started:

     

    • Start poolside with a light warm up using cords or resistance bands – this will increase your range of motion.
    • Once in the pool complete six minutes of interval training – one minute high speed swimming, two minutes slow.
    • Quick changes from swimming styles work well too – alternate between front and back crawl for example.
    • For a warm down swim some slow paced lengths, with frequent breaths and using all of the strokes you used in training.
    • Once out of the pool focus on some static stretches using your whole body.

    Swimming tends to exert less stress on joints and muscles but considering using a brace or support might be beneficial during training. The FUTURO™ All Activity Wrist Stabilizer stabilizes and supports sore, weak or injured wrist - even in wet environments.

Run better

  • Javier Gomez wearing Futuro knee support and jogging

    Running is a high impact sport, so it’s no surprise that it’s the activity that causes more injuries and overloads than any other. Warming up and down is key to successful training and competing. Your warm up should be 10-15 minutes long. Start with a jog and exercises aimed at increasing your range of motion.

    Then get specific:

     

    • Warm up muscles and joints in the legs with strokes, rushes and step-ups.
    • High and low-skip exercises work really well for joint specific warm ups – quickly bounce your knees up and then kick back so your heel hits your buttocks.
    • Run forwards at just below your maximum speed, then run slowly backwards for a combination cardio-vascular and ankle sprain prevention exercise.
    • Run sideways, crossing your legs – this improves the neuro-muscular co-ordination and strengthens your stabilisers, helping to prevent ankle sprains.
    • To warm down run at a lower speed for a short time.
    • Wind down to fast walking for a few minutes.
    • Complete your warm down with static stretching of the leg muscles.

    Even with warming up and down, injuries and sprains can occur – consider why the injury may have happened in the first place – a change of technique or training schedule could help. In the run up to a goal or competition when you really don’t want to stop, a brace or support can provide support to certain body parts, in and out of training. The FUTURO™ Performance Ankle Stabilizer helps stabilize and support weak, sore or injured ankles. FUTURO™ Knee Supports can support stiff, weak or injured knees and the FUTURO™ Performance Knee Stabilizer provides stabilization for injured or unstable knee while active.


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