17 Feb 2010 BY Katrina Tarrant POSTED IN Exercise Warming Up Before your Game- The New Truth We often are asked about the best way to warm up prior to your game of soccer, tennis, netball or jog. There is a recent shift away form the old ways of thinking as scientific evidence regarding stretching builds up. Below is the link to a very interesting read about stretching from the New York Times “Play” Sports Magazine back in November 2008.http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/sports/playmagazine/112pewarm.html?_r=1&em&oref=sloginThe article highlights short comings in the old practiced sustain hold (up to 30 seconds) stretches before exercise, citing evidence that this actually can increase your risk of injury through neural inhibition of the muscle. Neural inhibition “switches off” a protective reflex that can prevent muscular tears and sprains of the joints supported by those muscle systems. Some research states that these long hold stretches can reduce the muscles strength by up to 30% and can last up to 30 minutes after the stretching has taken place – time you actually are wanting your muscles at their optimum “readiness” in your game. There is even a documented “cross-over effect” to the same muscles but on the opposite limb due to these neural changes around the muscle. “Warming up” is now heading towards a “dynamic muscle stretching” process by where the muscle’s “readiness” for exercise is brought about through increased blood flow to the muscle and compliance through the fibres and tendons. This is achieved through moving the muscles through stretches. Start with a light jog and then move into “sports specific” movements such as lunging, running side to side, running backwards, kicking and swinging the legs or arms side to side. Do this immediately before you run onto the court or field, so your muscles are prepared for the demands you are about to place on them.Thanks to Jan M. who forwarded me this interesting article.