Don’t Forget the Warm Up!

by Tyler Tice, PT, DPT, MS, ATC

We all have busy schedules and it can be challenging to find time to get a good workout in. Between going to work, picking up the kids from practice, preparing dinner, and maintaining a clean household, some of us may feel that we only have 30 minutes to exercise. Due to this limited time, a lot of people may forego a warm up and jump right in to their workout routine.

BUT! A warm up can have a lot more benefits than we think. A warm up is meant to be more than “just to get loose” or “to help minimize soreness”. Warm ups have a positive impact on our exercise performance which in return may also help reduce our chances for injury.

Benefits of a Warm Up

  • Improves elasticity and contractibility of muscles
  • Improves efficiency of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems
  • Improves perception
  • Improves concentration
  • Improves coordination
  • Decreases reaction time
  • Regulates emotional stress

These benefits can help one enhance their workout and can help lower the risk of injury in the process too. It is especially important for athletes and those competing at a high level to utilize a warm up in their training routine since these benefits are all related to better performance.

Warm Up Ideas

  • Brisk walk
  • Light jog that progresses
  • Sport specific movements that begin slow and progress to higher intensity
  • Dynamic stretches
  • Self joint mobilizations
  • Muscle “activation” exercises (great for core and gluteal muscles)
  • An active or dynamic warm up is typically recommended over a static stretch warm up.

The best warm up routine varies for everyone based on the type of exercise being performed, the type of sport one may play, injury history and/or any current injuries, training and exercise goals, and many other factors.

Bottom Line

Find a warm up that works well for you, your schedule, your body, and for your goals. Find a warm up that you will be successful at and can stay consistent with! I know this is tough with our busy lives, but the warm up is just as important as the workout. Try to modify your exercise routine or change up your schedule in a different way in order to complete a warm up and keep you living a healthy lifestyle!


Kurz T. Science of Sports Training: How To Plan and Control Training for Peak Performance. 2nd Edition. Stadion Publisher Company. Y2001