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How To Warm Up Before Exercise


Following on from our Monday Myth….


“You must do stretches before you exercise, otherwise you might pull a muscle or injure yourself”


We explained that stretching alone prior to exercise is generally not advocated and that a warm-up that includes dynamic stretching is normally recommended.


We thought it would be useful to discuss what a warm up at the start of an exercise session should include and what type of stretching you should perform.


It is important that you warm up when you exercise to ensure your body is ready for the exercise you are going to do and to reduce the likelihood of injury. What you do in your warm up will depend on the type of exercise you are going to do and the intensity of the exercise.


For example, if you are going to walk for 30 minutes, it may be quite appropriate to simply warm up by walking slowly initially with a slightly shorter stride and build up the speed and stride length over the first five minutes. If you are going to play a game of football or netball you will need to include more in your warm which ensures the main muscle groups you are going to use are ready to perform.


A warm up should include:

1. Raise your heart rate, blood flow, breathing rate and body temperature with low intensity cardio-vascular exercise like jogging or exercise bike. You should feel warm but not tired from this.

2. Activate and mobilise key muscle groups using dynamic stretching drills. This can include movements like lunge walking and high knee stepping.

3. Potentiate your body to perform better with sport specific and plyometric drills. This may include hopping and jumping.


In some cases it might be useful to add static stretches to a warm-up if you have a specific tight muscle or have been recommended to stretch a muscle by a professional prior to exercising. It can be useful to see a physio or sports rehabilitation therapist to discuss and design an appropriate warm up for you to reduce the chance of an exercise related injury or to manage an ongoing ‘niggle’.  


Call Harbourside today on 01736 366224 or email us at main@harboursidephysiotherapy.co.uk to find out more about the services we offer & to get booked in with one of our experienced team.


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