The end of summer break for many families means two things—back to school and the beginning of fall sports. And with the weather getting colder, this presents the perfect opportunity to teach young athletes about the importance of warming up, a self-protective practice that could make all the difference in preventing injuries and optimizing their overall athletic performance.
Warm Up Now to Prevent Injuries Later
A warm up is an activity that prepares the body to engage in more strenuous activity such as sports or exercise. These often include stretching, both static and dynamic, light running, or specific exercises to prepare for motions that will be used in their specific sports. These types of warm ups are called active warmups. Warm ups can also include passive warmups, which are non-exercise methods of increasing body temperature without causing fatigue, such as the use of saunas and hot soaks. Active and passive warmups don’t have to be mutually exclusive—particularly when athletes are expected to perform in cold external temperatures. Properly warming up the body serves a critical function in injury prevention and setting up optimal performance. Teaching kids to embrace warming up while they are young will go a long way in helping them learn how to take care of their bodies, a mindful practice that supports long term physical health and mobility that will contribute to a positive quality of life.
What Happens When the Body Warms Up
When a person engages in warm up activities, not only are they kicking their cardiovascular system into gear, they are literally “warming up” their bodies. That means:
When a person is warmed up, their muscles and joints are lubricated so they are less likely to pull a muscle, or experience neuromuscular missteps that can lead to coordination injuries such as sprains or falls. As an added bonus, the increased blood flow flushes out lactic acid, which causes the burning and fatigue sensations in the muscles, allowing athletes to push themselves harder and faster.
Being consistent with warming up before training can also improve athletic performance. According to Chris Sutarno, a registered kinesiologist based in Ontario, Canada, being consistent about warming up not only reduces injury risks, it can lead to more powerful movements and positive training results.
“When we increase the temperature in the muscle, it enhances the supply of oxygen into the muscle and therefore increases the amount of energy it can produce,” said Saturno.
Attend any professional sporting event and you’ll see the athletes warming up hours before the event. If kids want to perform like professional athletes, it’s highly recommended they embrace warming up with the same dedication as the professionals do.
Oki Doki: The World’s First Preworkout Aid for Kids
Julia Shih, founder of Body + Soul, knows the devastating effect of childhood injuries far too well. As a promising multi-sport athlete in her youth, she suffered several major knee injuries before she finished high school.
“I tore my first ACL when I was 12 playing softball,” Shih said. “I tore something major in my knee every other year after that. As a serious athlete, I knew how to push my body and was very demanding of it, but I was never taught how to properly prepare it for the physical toll. It’s only in hindsight that I realized how crucial warming up is to protecting your body and getting the best out of it.”
After five major knee surgeries cut her athletic career short before the age of 19, Shih found the long term effects of her injuries severely impacted her quality of life as an adult.
“My knee problems threw my entire body out of balance so knee issues led to back issues which led to neck issues. I went from someone who loved being active to someone who could barely walk when it rained and lived in constant pain.”
Shih’s journey to wellness led her to develop Miracle Sports Cream, a plant-based therapeutic massage cream that features 11 herbs and botanicals to reduce pain and inflammation, while increasing blood flow to stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal. It works both on fresh injuries such as sprains, pulled muscles, bruises, and muscle cramps, as well as chronic issues such as knee pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, and arthritis. Putting on the cream daily not only provided her freedom from pain, but by using it consistently before workouts, it effectively warmed up her muscles and primed her body for exercise, helping her get into the best shape of her life. She was recruited to play college basketball at the age of 41, achieving a dream she’d thought was long out of reach. She found that by consistently using Miracle Sports Cream on her legs and body before training or games, she was able to avoid injuries while lubricating her muscles to compete at an extremely high level.
Now as a middle school basketball coach based in the Bay Area, CA, she works with kids at the stage of their athletic career when they are becoming more competitive and demanding more from their growing bodies, but are also at the highest risk for injury. She developed Oki Doki Fast Healing Cream in an effort to help kids avoid the painful injury path that she experienced. Oki Doki’s formula incorporates warming herbs to increase blood circulation and warm up muscles, with cooling herbs to reduce pain and inflammation. It is formulated to provide a convenient and effective method of passive warmup to aid in active warmup techniques as well prep the body for maximal athletic performance. Not only does Oki Doki warm up the body and lubricate the joints and muscles when applied consistently prior to exercise, it also serves as a post-injury balm to help accelerate recovery from soreness or injuries.
Judy Sha is the mother of two competitive female athletes under the age of 12 who practice and compete 3-4 times weekly. “Oki Doki is a natural, plant-based cream that I feel safe using on my kids. While I can’t stress enough the important of a proper stretch routine for young athletes, I also apply Oki Doki using gentle massage before games as a pregame ritual to warm up their muscles, and before bedtime for muscle repair at night. This is a concept I firmly believe in as I’ve suffered many sports injuries built up through the years due to lack of warmups and post-game stretches.”
Sha believes Oki Doki is best used as part of a consistent maintenance plan to help build strong bodies and minimize the risk of avoidable injuries.
“I would recommend Oki Doki to all the sports moms and hope your rising elite athletes will benefit from it as much as we do.”
Talk to most kids and adults about the importance of stretching or warming up and you are likely to be met with groans. However, rather than risking a devastating season-ending or life-changing injury to realize the importance of warming up, it would be best if athletes could recognize that warming up and taking care of their bodies is a foundational practice to protect their long term health, while laying the foundation achieve peak athletic performance.
For more information about Oki Doki Fast Healing Cream, please visit the product page here. To receive more helpful tips, please subscribe to our email list or follow our social media accounts @miraclesportscream on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.