West Vancouver Sport & Orthopedic Physiotherapy)
Injury prevention: The importance of a good warm up
From a standpoint of injury prevention, today’s top-level athletes are the only ones doing enough to help minimize their chances of becoming sidelined. Typically what I have seen is a drastic difference from the preparation between up and coming athletes to those that are at the National level. An appropriate warm-up will help to prime the body for what is the most intensive exercise performed that day.
I would encourage people to create a more dynamic approach to their warm ups as it is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle to minimize your chances of becoming injured.
The two main physiological reasons to warm up:
- Get blood flowing to the bodies’ tissues (muscle, tendon, joints) to increase their resiliency to load
- Prime the nervous system to improve motor control and force production
These two variables increase the window for what a tissue can tolerate before it reaches its failure point on the stress/strain curve. Hence, increasing your body’s own protective mechanisms to withstand load.
Here are a few simple movement patterns that can be performed prior to any athletic endeavour. You only need to run through this as a circuit 2-3 times to get the desirable benefits of a dynamic warm-up.
- Single leg walking toe touches
- Butt Kicks and High Knees
- Lateral leaps with single leg catch
- Star Pattern Lunges
Eric Doak, MPT, CAFCI
Alpine Canada Technical Team Physiotherapist
West Vancouver Sport & Orthopedic Physiotherapy