Exercise is a great way to combat stress, maintain a healthy weight and boost your energy. But attempting to do too much too quickly can cause injuries.
To keep your workouts injury-free, be sure to add warming up, cooling down and stretching to your exercise routine. Consider the steps provided below.
Warming up allows your body time to transition from rest to activity. It increases blood flow to your muscles, reducing the risk of muscle tears. It also lubricates joints and carries oxygen to your heart. When warming up:
- Use similar movements to those in your workout, such as light calisthenics, walking or jogging.
- Increase the intensity of your warmup gradually, but don’t overdo it. Your warmup should only last about 15 minutes and be just intense enough to cause a light sweat.
As with warming up, cooling down should involve similar movements to those in your workout, but at a gradually decreasing level of intensity. A short walk makes for an excellent cooldown.
After cooling down, stretching can be used to build flexibility and range of motion. When stretching:
- Use gentle and fluid movements and breathe
- Work specific parts of your body, holding each stretch for 20-60
- Don’t force a joint beyond its normal range of motion. If you feel pain, stop.
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