It’s tempting to skip that warm up…. is it really important to warm up before a practice or a game? The simple answer is YES!

Warming up before sports is a definite way to help improve your child’s sports performance and also help them prevent any injuries. It’s vital to keeping your child strong and healthy in the game.

It’s important to realize that children’s muscles and bones are under almost constant stress from growth and development. This can lead to “tight” muscles, varying levels of mobility and flexibility, and potential injuries – all of which can be addressed with proper warm-up routines. Parents and coaches can help kids understand this importance and encourage good practices from an early age.

Proper warm-up exercises can activate and protect a child’s muscles during sport or play. Not only will they help prevent injury, but these techniques can also help them perform better, improve their overall fitness levels and achieve more of their sports performance goals.

According to experts, warming up before activity will:

  • Increase the core body temperature and blood flow; the heart rate should go up and the child should be lightly sweating
  • Improve posture, a child’s range of motion and performance
  • Decrease the risk of injury

Most warm-up routines can take 10 to 30 minutes to complete, but there is no one-size-fits-all routine. Stretches should include the following areas to avoid tears or other injuries:

  • Torso
  • Spine
  • Hips
  • Shoulders

Warm-ups should also include movements that start with a simple version of the movements the children are about to do, and then progress into more complex motions. The warm-up should be specific to the activity and the needs of the child, including age, fitness level and endurance.