What is a warm-up, and how important is it in aerobic activity?

A warm-up helps your body prepare itself for exercise and reduces the chance of injury. The warm-up should be a combination of rhythmic exercise which begins to raise the heartrate and raise muscle temperature, and static stretching through a full range of motion. The rhythmic exercise may be a slower version of the aerobic activity to come. For example, you might want to walk before you jog, or do some aerobic dance movements before an aerobic or step class. The stretches in the warm-up should be non-ballistic and cover all of the major muscle groups. Always stretch the lower back before doing any lateral movement of the upper torso such as side bends.

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