Short on time and need to hit the ground running? Follow this short/quick checklist to be sure your heart, lungs, and muscles are ready for a workout!

A proper warm-up is important in getting the body ready for exercise and decreasing risk for injury.

Think of the body before working out like a car sitting in the cold. Yes, you can hop in the cold car and begin driving, but it is uncomfortable, hard to see, and risks breaking the car down. The same is true with skipping a warm up – the muscles and joints are stiff, movement is less efficient, and there is discomfort and risk for injuring muscles that are not prepared for exercise. 

The same way we let the car warm and melt the frost on those frozen January mornings, we need to do the same with the body – get moving, get the heart rate up, get the blood flowing, and hit the ground running!

There are three priorities when it comes to a proper warm up; increase heart rate, improve flexibility, and prepare breathing/lungs for a higher intensity of movement. 

Our normal heart rate during rest and seated activity beats between 60-100 beats per minute. When exercising, we are looking to increase the heart rate to improve blood flow throughout the body, work the heart muscle, and improve our cardiovascular endurance. Improving heart health can make day to day tasks easier, allow you to do more throughout your busy day, and decrease risk for future health concerns. 

Being more flexible and mobile decreases risk for injury. A majority of physical therapy visits are related to injuries to the muscles, tendons, and joints. By targeting flexibility in your warm up, muscles become more pliable and resilient. Flexible muscles and joints are less prone to injury and more resilient to stress. 

By getting the body moving and breathing rate increased, we move more blood and oxygen throughout the body. Some might experience a tough and groggy half mile at the beginning of their run, and then fall into ‘the groove.’ While many feel this is the body warming up, that groove feeling is related to the lungs reaching a more steady state. The lungs are able to match the oxygen taken into what the body needs. Getting this ‘groove’ during your warm up can make a big impact on starting your workout prepared and make it more efficient. 

When these 3 – heart, muscles, and lungs – are primed and ready, hit the ground running! 

See the Ultimate 7-minute whole body warm-up checklist below!

7 minutes:
45 seconds work / 15 seconds rest
Knee to chest
-High knee / pull knee to chest
Inch worms
-Toe reaches / walk outs / burpees
Tall plank
-Knees on ground / feet 
Bird dog
-Legs only / opposite arm/leg
Glute bridges 
-Feet flat / feet elevatedSquatsNormal stance / wide stance
-Standing / walking / jumping
Use this to be prepared! Options are listed easier to harder for each movement. Adjust work and rest times to best match ability. 

Feeling pain with any of these movements? Need a warm-up that matches your abilities and goals more specifically? Need helping find your therapist? Contact us today, and meet your physical therapist tomorrow.

If you are having any difficulties with pain or movement, your local movement specialist at 21st Century Rehab therapist is here to help. 
Thank you, and please e-mail me at with any questions!