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Warming Up to Exercise
In just 5 to 10 minutes, a warmup can improve your workout.

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Warming Up to Exercise

Ready to get off the couch and into an exercise program? Before you hit the ground running, you'll want to warm up first.

Why warm up?
Warming up prepares your body to workout. It increases your heart rate, gets your blood flowing and literally warms up your muscles. Warming up doesn't take long, either - just five to 10 minutes tops! 

Warming up may also help you:

  • Perform better during exercise
  • Improve your range of motion
  • Gain better muscle control
  • Reduce muscle fatigue
  • Avoid injury

How to warm up
To warm up, simply do the activity you plan to do for your workout - just at a slower pace or intensity. For example, if your exercise is a brisk walk, warm up with a slow walk. Or if your exercise is biking, start out slow at a low gear. You might also choose to add flexibility or stretching exercises after an aerobic activity.

Keep in mind: Your warmup should make you sweat a little, but it shouldn't make you feel fatigued.

Ready to workout
Before starting your exercise program, talk to your doctor about what types and amounts of activity are right for you. Also keep these tips in mind:

  • Ease into it. If you can only be active for 10 minutes at a time to start, that's fine. You can work your way up to the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. That's the same as five 30-minute workouts each week. Need to break it down even more? You can workout for as little as 10 minutes at a time and still reap the benefits of exercise.
  • Add muscle-strengthening exercises. Strength train at least twice a week, working all your major muscle groups. You can use weights or your own body weight for resistance.
  • Have some fun! Choose exercises that you enjoy. Also, switch up your workout every so often so you won't get bored.
  • Cool down. Don't forget to take a few minutes to cool down after exercise. Cooldowns help your body recover. 

Have a great workout!

By Lucy M. Casale, Contributing Writer
Created on 01/18/2002
Updated on 09/10/2014
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Warm up, cool down and be flexible.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 Physical activity guidelines for Americans.
  • Weight-control Information Network. Active at any size!
  • Weight-control Information Network. Tips to help you get active.
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