When you meet a trainer in person, they'll have you warm up before working out. When you're on your own, it can be tempting to skip this step and just get into the work, but a warm-up is necessary for each workout you do. Warming up before you exercise can improve performance and reduce injury risk.
Oxygenate your muscles
As you move through a cardiovascular warm-up routine, your muscles receive a burst of oxygen that will prepare them to work. More oxygen means that your muscles will have greater stamina and won't be as sore the next day.
Lubricate your joints
Adding some stretching to your warm-up helps lubricate the joints with synovial fluid to increase range of motion, and decrease the risk of injury. Take each of your large joints through their entire range of motion using hip circles, squats for your knees, and push-ups. If your joints are adequately warmed up, it will take less effort to move them, which improves your stamina during a workout.
A proper warm-up will help psyche you up to get into the work. Often, getting started with exercise is the hardest part. Warming up gives your body and brain a gentle introduction rather than jumping right into throwing weights around or sprinting.
How to warm-up
If you have cardio equipment available, such as a treadmill, elliptical, or bike, jumping on there for 3-8 minutes is a good start, but you have to include some dynamic stretching to get all of your joints and muscles involved. If you don't have any equipment, you can still get yourself warmed up and ready using a routine such as the one below.
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