At the beginning of a practice or game, athletes know to warm up before starting. Warm-ups are crucial to raising your heart rate gradually and, most importantly, preventing injury. Learn more about the benefits of warm-ups and some of the best warm-up exercises you can do before you start playing a sport or exercising.
The Benefits of Warm-Ups
How do warm-ups benefit your body? First, they are scientifically proven to reduce the chance of injury during intense activity. Imagine that your muscles are sleeping when you're not training. Warm-up exercises wake those muscles up by encouraging the circulation of blood through them.
If you take your body from low activity to high activity with no preparation, your muscles are caught off guard by severe pressure from cardio or weightlifting. That pressure can result in muscle tears, sprains and tissue damage. Warm-ups also allow you to prepare mentally so you can get focused on the task ahead.
List of 5 Warm-Up Exercises to Prevent a Sport Injury
Wondering how to do warm-ups to prevent injury? These five warm-up exercises stretch out your body and gently raise your heart rate in preparation for intense activity. Make sure to maintain proper form to activate your muscles.
1. Arm Reach
To properly stretch your arms out, follow these steps.
- Get in a standing position.
- Place your legs hip-width apart.
- Rotate your body to the left while swinging your extended right arm across your chest.
- Twist your waist and upper body with the arm.
- Repeat on the other arm.
- Perform the exercise on each side for 20 to 60 seconds.
2. Knee Lift
When performing this exercise, make sure to tighten your core.
- Get in a standing position.
- Position your legs wider than hip-width apart.
- Rest your arms behind your head.
- Lift your left knee to your left elbow.
- Repeat with the right knee and right elbow.
- Do the exercise on each side for 20 to 60 seconds.
3. Lateral Lunge With Arm Reach
When you perform the lunge, make sure to shift your hips back and keep your knees behind your toes.
- Stand with your legs wider than shoulder-width.
- Extend right arm to touch left foot.
- Shift hips back and bend the knee to reach the foot.
- Repeat with the left arm and right foot.
- Complete exercise on each side for 20 to 30 seconds.
The distance between your feet will activate different muscle groups. Ensure your squats target the correct leg muscles.
- Stand with legs apart.
- Shift hips back as you bend your legs.
- Keep your knees behind your toes.
- Have arms clasped in front of you or on your waist.
- Return to standing position and repeat.
- Continue squatting for 20 to 60 seconds.
5. Plank Stretch
Do not let your back sink to the ground during this exercise. Poor form could cause a back injury.
- Start in a standing position.
- Bend down and walk your arms out until your body is parallel with the floor.
- Keep your core tight.
- Walk your arms back into your feet and stand up.
- Repeat this exercise for 20 to 60 seconds.
Book an Appointment With Dr. Mufaddal Gombera for Expert Care
If you have suffered an injury, schedule an appointment with Mufaddal Gombera, MD. A board-certified orthopedic surgeon with years of experience, Dr. Gombera uses the latest advanced treatments and minimally invasive techniques to help you recover and return to your active lifestyle. Call us at (713) 794-3457 or book an appointment online today.