Warming up and stretching is one of those things that a lot of people don’t like doing?
Whether you are a boxer, MMA practitioner, runner or even surfer, stretching is one of those universal ‘I’m sure I’ll be fine if I skip it this time’ situations.
But why is warming up so important?
We are doing this to give you the low down on what stretching does and why you must do it when you are going into battle.
What does warming-up do?
First and foremost, see warming up as training preparation because that is precisely what it is. Warming up allows your body to get into the training zone. Your heart will be working harder, so a quick warm-up can get the blood pumping around your body, sending oxygen to all the right places.
Once your body has been gently pushed and your heart rate sufficiently increased, you can transition into high-performance mode far easier. Even just a gentle jog or skipping can get that blood pumping.
What does stretching do?
Stretching as a part of your routine will underline the work you are doing in your regular warm-up. Stretching the right muscles will make your blood rush to them. Not only that but stretching out your joints will help you to get limber and increase your range of motion.
Once your joints and muscles are supple, your explosive movements will feel far more effortless from the very beginning.
Why is stretching so important for boxing?
Boxing is an extremely intense and explosive sport, which means that it’s not only essential to warm up and stretch, but to ignore it would be foolhardy. With an immense amount of lateral movement and quick footwork, ducking and diving, and combinations of punches being thrown, boxing, unlike running, uses the whole body.
A good stretching routine before you get explosive on a bag or sparring partner will instantly increase your intensity and production. Stretching will keep your muscles supple, healthy, flexible and strong.
Does warming up prevent injury?
Absolutely. Warming up can significantly reduce the chances of a muscle tearing or knocking a joint out of place. Allowing your body to get warm and pump the blood to the important zones can make all the difference.
It’s also an excellent way of judging if your body has any stiff areas or niggles that may need to be worked on before high impact boxing training.
Is stretching more important as you age?
Apart from keeping your muscles supple, stretching can also help prevent the degradation of muscles and joints as you age. Keeping the blood flowing to your body and ensuring your muscles remain flexible will mean that you will not give your body the chance to break down, or at least you will slow the process considerably.
Warming up and stretching (along with a great diet) can substantially slow the effects of sarcopenia and age-related muscle loss. The older you get, the more critical it is to keep on top of this.
Why is cooling down important?
Cooling down is a gentle way of taking your body out of exercise mode. This can be especially important after vigorous exercise. Combining gentle cardio with more stretching can help slow your heart rate back down and get you to a normal resting state.
If you stop your exercise too quickly, it can result in dizziness or potentially fainting. Even when you are gassed, make sure you do some gentle warming down movements and stretches before leaving the gym.