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A warm-up helps you prepare — both physically and mentally — for the exercise you’re about to do. It also raises your body temperature and heart rate, and increases blood flow to your muscles, which makes them more efficient during exercise.
However, evidence that warming up helps to reduce the risk of injury or soreness after physical activity is limited.
If you injure a muscle during exercise, it’s because the muscle isn’t strong enough or flexible enough to support the extra weight or strain put on it. But as stretching can improve flexibility and movement, a warm-up can be useful if you’re doing an activity that requires good flexibility, like dancing or gymnastics. It may be less useful if you’re walking, running or cycling.
Experts recommend doing a 10-minute warm-up prior to exercise only if you want to or you find it useful for the activity you're doing. Your warm-up can reflect the types of movements you’ll do during your workout. For example, you can:
If you like to stretch, experts suggest doing this after exercise. See our tips below for how to cool down.
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