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Warming Up & Down

What's the best way to warm up before exercising?

Warming up properly before exercising not only prevents injury but also ensures your work is more effective. How long you warm up and how far you take that warm up depends on your routine, but five minutes should set you up nicely. It's not a good idea to stretch cold muscles though. Instead, try a little light aerobic work to loosen your muscles first.

Try a brisk walk, slow jog, or cycle on an exercise bike. Don't rush though. If you’re warming up for a run, don't start racing, jog slowly and gradually build up speed. You should be breathing easily. If you’re getting out of breath, slow down.

Maybe start with a slow walk for around three minutes, pumping your arms up and down in a rhythm, with elbows bent and hands loose. From there, try a minute of heel digs - alternate heels forward, keeping the front foot pointing up, with a slight bend in the supporting leg. Now try half a minute of knee lifts - alternate knees up to the opposite hand, with your abs tight and back straight, again with a slight bend in the supporting leg. Return to walking while trying two sets of 10 shoulder rolls - rolling your shoulders back and forth five times each, arms loose by your sides.

Now try 10 knee bends, your feet shoulder-width apart and hands stretched out, bending your knees, then repeating. After this, you should be ready to set off with your normal exercise routine.

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