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Warm up and warm down

Lady doing situp

Warming up before you exercise prepares you physically and mentally before you start and may help prevent injuries. A good warm up will include some general cardiovascular exercise (for example marching on the spot, fast walking building to a light jog, or gentle cycling) to gradually increase your body temperature and prepare your muscles for exercise. This exercise should be enough to get you out of breath and raise your heart rate. You should then do some light stretching of the major muscle groups you’ll be using.

Most importantly, a warm up must include a run through of the movements you’ll do in your particular sport. This rehearsal needs to focus on how movements are done. Before playing squash, for example, you should do some racquet swings similar to those you use in a match.

It’s also important to warm down after exercise, by repeating the stretching and gentle cardiovascular exercise you did in your warm up. This will stop you getting stiff muscles and joints and will help to prevent cramp. Give yourself plenty of time to recover and refuel your body with suitable food and drink.

For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.