A warm-up programme focusing on improving strength, balance, core stability and muscular awareness cuts injury in female footballers by a third and severe injuries by almost a half, according to the British Medical Journal website.
In an accompanying editorial, John Brooks an injury expert for the Rugby Football Union, says that people participating in any sport at all levels should adopt a warm-up programme like this to reduce injury.
Previous studies investigating the effect of warming up on the risk of injury have focused on key warm-up elements, such as raising the core temperature, stretching the muscles used and conducting movement specific exercises, but the effect on injury has been unclear until now.
The researchers recruited 1,892 female footballers from Norway aged 13 to 17; and randomised them to perform either traditional warm-up exercises (1, 055) or the “11+” 20-minute warm-up intervention (837).
The “11+” 20-minute warm-up programme consists of slow and speed running, key exercises to improve strength and balance, and movements that focus on core stability, hip control and knee alignment. The whole programme emphasises the importance of internal muscular awareness.
The researchers reported no significant difference in the number of lower leg injuries between the groups, but substantially fewer severe injuries, overuse injuries and overall injuries were found in the intervention group.
Source: Medical News Today
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An excellent guide to warm up stretches and exercises is: