News flash! Cold muscles and tigt tendons can't handle an erratic work load.
It's always better to lose 5 minutes from your routine than 5 days from a light injury, or even 5 weeks from a moderate injury. So, what is a proper warm up, you ask? Well, the Faccioni Speed and Conidiotning Consultancy defines it as the warm up method used by many dynamic athletes, and usually includes an initial jog, followed by 10-15 minutes of static stretching. This is then followed by a few drills, and the athletes then begin their training session.
In short, stretch to elongate muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Then do some light cardio like jumping jacks. After a solid 5 to 10 minute warm up, you're ready to hit the weights, or do some real cardio, or whatever you wish.
A proper warm up can not be stressed enough, and here are some common injuries you might be unable to avoid without that warm up routine.
1. Twisted ankles. An ankle still stiff from a lack of warming up can twist with some moderate consequences. While the twisted ankles of childhood are easily overcome in a day or two, twisting your ankle as an adult can lead to damaged ligaments. These injuries may take up to a month to fully heal.
2. Pulled hamstrings. This is probably the most common of injuries. Rarely if ever serious in nature, the pulled hamstring can often be aggrivating, and is quite easily prevented.
3. Strained lower back. The lower back, or lumbar, contains the psoas major, quadratus lumborum, the interspinales, and several other groups. Because there are so many small groups of muscles in the lower back, it can become strained by minimal exertion. Do a few slow, toe-touches before exercising.
4. Shoulder injuries. A presentation on manatomy.com discusses the intricacies of the shoulder, but in short states: The muscles attaching the humerus to the pectoral girdle are the weakest part of the shoulder, and can injure easily.
5. Knee injuries. These normally involve the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), or sometimes the meniscus, which is a pad of cartilage. Keeping the knees flexible is a top priority during physical activity.
Staying fit is great, and it means more energy, better sleep at night, and less stress. Do your best to warm up before a routine. Otherwise, you may find yourself momentarily injured. As always, consult your physician before starting a new exercise regimen.