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Do I need to warm up before I exercise?

Warm-ups help get the blood flowing a little more quickly, which helps your body prepare for more vigorous work. You should warm up gradually by walking slowly, doing light calisthenics, or dancing. You want to gradually increase your heart rate to within 20 beats of your target range. The warm-up also gives your muscles and joints a chance to loosen up.

End your warm-up with stretching each part of your body. No single stretch can take care of your whole body. Begin at your neck and work down to the ankles. Start with neck rotations, move to shoulder rolls and arm swings, do a gentle knee bend, and finish with ankle rotations. Stretch the tendons that support your major joints to the point of tension, but not to the point of pain. Do NOT bounce as you stretch because it is hard on joints and muscles. Breathe deeply and relax into the stretch. Each joint and muscle group should be stretched for 5–30 seconds. You are prepared now to get the full benefit of your aerobic exercise without injury.

To minimize the risk of injury, you should prepare your body for movement each time you get ready to exercise. You can do this by foam rolling muscles that feel tight, and following the foam rolling up with static stretching. After stretching, do a full body exercise to get all of your muscles working in unison again. A great exercise for this would  a simple lunge or squat followed by an overhead raise.

 

Once finished, your body is ready to move and complete the rest of your workout!

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Before beginning any exercise, warm up your muscles for about 5 minutes to prevent injury. Remember, your muscles are like spaghetti strands, and they're pliable when they're warm (and more injury-prone if they're not). Jogging, brisk walking, cycling, or doing exercises with light or no weight will help prepare your muscles for activity.

One good rule: Do the same exercise you will be doing but at a slower pace or with lighter weight. Your goal is to move your joints through the same range of motion as they will do with exercise—to raise your heart rate and to increase the temperature of your muscles (which will make them more viscous and less likely to be injured).
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.