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What kind of warm-ups reduce sports injuries? Calgary research says neuromuscular

Click to play video: 'Neuromuscular warm-up programs can dramatically reduce sports injuries, according to U of C researchers' Neuromuscular warm-up programs can dramatically reduce sports injuries, according to U of C researchers
Neuromuscular warm-up programs can dramatically reduce sports injuries, according to U of C researchers – Apr 13, 2016

It’s widely known that warming up properly before engaging in any strenuous physical activity can reduce your chances of getting hurt. But now, it seems, the type of warm-up can make a big difference.

University of Calgary researchers in the faculty of kinesiology studied two groups of young soccer players.

One group used standard exercises, like stretching and aerobics, while the other tried something different – neuromuscular training.

That includes training aimed at balance, eccentric strengthening for certain muscles in the lower extremity as well as technical training, and agility training – and working on landing and jumping skills.

Calgary sisters Emma and Myla Schneider exercising using neuromuscular methods.

Emma Schneider and her younger sister Myla said the new exercises took a little getting used to.

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“The very first time you do it, it’s a little bit confusing. But the second and third time then you’ve got it,” Emma Schneider said.

“We do a lot of change of direction and balance, so it’s a little different from what we usually do,” Myla Schneider said.

“We usually just do some more static warm-ups,” Myla added.

The research determined the group that used neuromuscular exercises had nearly 40 per cent fewer injuries, especially to knees and ankles.

In dollars and cents, that represents a huge cost savings for our health care system.

“We looked at the cost savings associated with reducing the risk of injuries and we demonstrated a cost savings of over $2.7 million in youth soccer players alone in this province,” said University of Calgary Kinesiology professor and researcher Carolyn Emery.

U of C researcher Carolyn Emery with Calgary sisters Emma and Myla Schneider.

Emery said researchers are now looking at how the warm-up methods can be modified for basketball and junior high school phys-ed programs.

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She said there’s no reason why it can’t be adapted for other sports.

The research findings were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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