Warm Up and Cool Down to Prevent Injury

Dr. Corey Fox
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Director of Massapequa Podiatry Associates

Stretching prevents InjuriesAt Massapequa Podiatry Associates, we work with athletes and active people throughout Long Island—from runners and basketball players to dancers, gymnasts, golfers, and more.

We don’t have to tell you how important exercises and physical activity are for your long-term health—and for many, long-term happiness. But we also know that physical exertion, especially if you haven’t prepared for it, can contribute to a host of foot and ankle injuries. Heel pain, sprained ankles, shin splints, stress fractures, Achilles tendinitis or even ruptures—there’s no shortage of painful issues that can keep you off your feet and sap your enthusiasm (or ability) for returning to the trail.

One of the simplest strategies you can employ to help reduce your injury risk is to remember to warm up before you get started with any intense physical activity, and cool down after it.

A good warm up gets your body ready for the more rigorous exercise to come. Your blood gets pumping, your muscles warm up, your breathing and heart rate speed up. Whereas going from 0-60 too fast (especially if you’re not yet in shape) can put unexpected and dangerous stress on muscles and joints, a warm up will help your body adjust to the new demands in a more controlled, safer manner. Five to 10 minutes of cardio at an easy pace (walking to light jogging, cycling in a low gear, etc.) with some stretching mixed in is a good benchmark.

After the main portion of your workout, run, or game, a cool down will give your body time to recover and remove toxins and waste products (like lactic acid) from your body more efficiently—this helps prevent momentary dizziness, as well as stop painful stiffness or cramping from setting in. A few minutes of light exercise—as long as it takes to get your heart and breathing rates back to relaxed levels—followed by some stretching is a good protocol to follow.

No prevention strategy is 100% effective, but smart decisions like remembering to warm up and cool down can help minimize your risk and keep your body working as smoothly as possible. If you do get hurt, please contact Massapequa Podiatry Associates for an evaluation and treatment. Our goal is to get you back on the trail or in the game as quickly as possible; we know what it means to you. You can request an appointment online, or give us a call at 516-541-9000.

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