Benefits of a Warm-up
The warm-up helps your body slowly adjust from rest to exercise. The warm-up reduces the stress on your heart and muscles while slowly increasing your breathing, circulation (heart rate), and body temperature. It also helps improve flexibility, reduces muscle soreness and prevents injury.
The best warm-up includes stretching, range of motion activities, and the beginning of the activity at a low-intensity level. Stretching the arms and legs before and after exercising helps to prepare muscles for activity and helps to prevent injury and muscle strain. Regular stretching can also increase your range of motion and flexibility.
Specific exercise for each muscle group are used for stretching. The recommendation for these exercises is to move as directed (see tab X) to a point of feeling a stretch, and hold the stretch for 10 – 30 seconds. This should be repeated 2-4 times for each exercise. It is important not to spring into each muscle stretch, but to move slowly into each stretch and hold it. Each repetition, the muscle will be able to stretch a bit further. It is important to breath during the stretch. You may also, efficiently, stretch your muscles with, if they are warmed up, a light walk or cycling exercise.