Fit Life: A routine to cut your risk of injuries

SPRINGFIELD, Mo Injuries can sidetrack everyone from professional athletes to weekend warriors. On this Fit Life, we're looking at at prehab warmup to help you cut down the risk of a muscle strain or even worse.

Here's what Pamela Hernandez of Thrive Personal Fitness told us:

How to add a little prehab to your warm up

For many exercisers, warming up is literally about getting warm. While it is important to get blood flowing to the muscles before starting strenuous activity, it is also important to prepare the joints and muscles for range of motion and stability. Walking on a treadmill or doing some jumping jacks won't do that.

Instead, consider adding exercises to your warm up that mimic the motions you'll be doing or that allow the joints and muscles to work through similar movement patterns.

For example, consider the squat to stand exercise for warming up on a lower body workout day. Start with feet shoulder width or slightly wider apart. Hinge forward and grab your toes, bending slightly at the knees if you need to. Then lower hips back and down into a squat, using your arms to slightly push your knees out. Let go of your toes and reach up to ceiling with eyes forward. Stand up from this position. Repeat this movement 8-10 times for 1-3 sets as part of a warm up.

An upper body warm up might include a series of movements using an exercise band. Take an exercise band in both hands. With straight arms, pull the band across your chest. Create tension but don't let the band snap back. Repeat this movement 5 times. Then perform this movement at the diagonal across the body, pulling the right side up and the left side down. Do this movement 5 times. Next, do this same movement in the opposite direction, pulling the left side up and the right side down. Finally, reach the band up over head. Pull the band down (not out) by bending your elbows and engaging your back muscles (it should feel like you're drawing your shoulder blades down your spine). Do this movement 5 times. You can repeat this series 1-3 times.

Add exercises like these can help you prevent injury while also improving range of motion and flexibly. Take a few minutes to add a little prehab to help avoid a need for rehab!

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