Injury Prevention Tips

The most important reason for doing a warm up is to prevent injury. Keeping the muscles warm will prevent acute injuries such as hamstring strains and will stave off overuse injuries by allowing the body to prepare steadily and safely.  The time for warm-up movements also helps the body prepare for exercise mentally and physically.

What is a warm-up?

Before you set foot on the course or playing field, remember to warm-up.  Without a proper warm-up, you risk injury, less-than-optimal performance, or slowed progress (plateauing).

  • Prepare your body for movement with a series of dynamic movements that increase your core temperature and prepare your nervous system for physical activity.
  • Avoid classic stretches for a warm up, as they have the potential to do more harm than good. Static stretches are more likely to relax the muscles instead of preparing them for athletic movements. Dynamic stretches that are active in nature, and specific to your sport, are suggested.
  • Minimize balance issues and potential for injury by using all three planes of motion in warm-up exercises.  This helps with skills such as hand-eye coordination on the field.
  • Use light impact exercises to keep joints safe and healthy.

A warm up that includes dynamic stretching should last approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Effects of the Warm-Up

The warm-up should gently prepare the body for exercises by gradually increasing the heart rate and circulation; this will loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles. The warm-up is also a good opportunity for an individual to prepare themselves mentally for the activity ahead.

Mercy Sports Medicine

Mike Tzianos, M.Ed, ATC