Do I need to warm up before my exercise routine?

A proper warm-up is important before you exercise. Warming up gradually increases blood flow and oxygen to your muscles (including your heart), which gets them ready for exercise. It enhances your performance and decreases your chance of injury from “cold” muscles. An ideal start to your workout is a low-intensity dynamic warm up that lasts no more than about 5–10 minutes. You can warm up too much, making you too tired to perform at a high level during your actual exercise, so make sure your warm-up isn’t too intense or too long. Examples of good dynamic warm-ups include lunges, high knees, side shuffle, light jog, or low-resistance cycling. Save the stationary—or static—stretching for after exercise as part of your cool-down or as a rehabilitation tool after an injury.