Make a warm up part of all your workouts and you’ll reduce your risk of injury and get more out of your sessions.

Warm up to work out

Make a warm up part of all your workouts and you’ll reduce your risk of injury and get more out of your sessions.

The aim of a warm up (not surprisingly) is to raise your core body temperature. This increases the blood and oxygen flow to your muscles and tendons and reduces the risk of soft tissue injury. It also increases the flexibility of your joints (particularly beneficial if you they are stiff to start off with).

A warm up doesn’t have to be long, but should be for a minimum of 5 minutes. How long you actually spend warming up will depend on your age and fitness level. If you are newer to exercise or a little older, your body will respond better with a longer warm-up.

How to warm up

Start just before you plan to begin your workout. Warm up movements should be low impact and match the activity you are about to undertake. For example, start a warm-up for a running session by walking quickly or jogging lightly. Gradually increase the intensity (for example by increasing the speed and incline on a treadmill) so your heart is working at around 70% of its maximum. At this intensity you are breathing deeply but comfortably and can still hold a conversation. If you warm up on a stationary bicycle, an elliptical cross trainer, or a rowing machine start at a lower resistance and gradually increase this.

Remember you are warming up to work out, not working out while you warm up, so be patient and take it easy. There will be plenty of time to break into a real sweat later on.