As I get older, my brain still thinks that I just get up and perform intense physical activity without a warm-up, but my body quickly reminds me that I CANNOT!!!

Back in high school, it was easy. I could go through a full contact football practice without warming up and not worry for a second about an injury. These days, I get outta bed, hear three cracks, and walk gingerly to the kitchen making sure that nothing gets pulled! I workout most days of the week, and don’t have any major injuries, but have definitely noticed that my body just isn’t as limber as it used to be.

There is no way that I can workout without warming up. Within minutes, something will “pop” and I’m out for 2 weeks…

I’m still in denial, but have learned to personally appreciate the benefits of warming up, particularly before working out, or performing any other physical activity for that matter.

I used to hate warming up because it was time-consuming and I did not appreciate the benefits of a good warm-up. Now I have no choice.

Warming up actually is a really good thing, and research supports it. According to a 2008 article in the British Medical Journal, a structured warm-up program can prevent up to 1/2 of severe injuries and 1/3 of overall injuries. While this reviewed the effect of the “11+” program on female soccer players, the same principles can apply to anyone performing physical activity.

Before we get started — a note on stretching. Stretching before a competitive event probably does not help to prevent injury. However, overall flexibility likely does. So stretch regularly with the goal of improving overall flexibility. Don’t just stretch occasionally to prevent injury during a certain competitive event. If you had to choose between doing a warm-up or stretching, go with the warm-up.

Ok, here is a quick warm-up program that you can do before physical activity to help improve your performance and reduce your risk of injury.

A Simple Warm-Up Program

  1. Run in Place or perform Jumping Jacks for 1 minute.
  2. Perform 2 sets of body weight squats for 20 seconds per set. Allow about 10 seconds of rest between sets.
  3. Perform 2 sets of push ups for 20 seconds per set. Allow about 10 seconds of rest between sets.
  4. Finish with a final 1 minute of running in place or Jumping Jacks

Simple enough? (Feel free to increase your warm up time as necessary).