What do you want to achieve? If the objective is to reduce injury during workout, warm-up your muscles with light aerobic movements and gradually increase their intensity. Warm muscles are less stiff and work more efficiently. Increased blood flow enables more oxygen to reach the muscles and produce energy.The warm-up also activates the nerve signals to your muscles, which results in faster reaction times.

If you want to benefit the most out of your exercise regimen, a proper warm -up is quite important. Warming up before your exercise, especially before engaging in strenuous workout, has very real physiological and often psychological benefits. Only static stretches prior to exercise do not help you much if you skip a warm-up schedule. Your body needs to warm-up by slowly increasing your heart rate and breathing rate. It lubricates your joints which will give you better range of motion and elasticity in tendons and ligaments. Here are few warm-up exercises which you can repeat as necessary for preventing injuries and achieving maximum health results.

Brisk walk or run

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Go for a walk or run outside so that you can connect with the nature. Start with brisk walk and work up to running. If you cannot go out, running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can increase the speed and time gradually.

Jumping jack

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Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going. Start with doing these for a minute, then gradually build up to the number of repetitions and time.

Squats

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This exercise includes not just legs but also hips and knees. Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Lower yourself down as if you want to sit until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Return to the starting position and relax. Repeat 20 times for two sets in the beginning.

Push ups

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Lie down with your face down and body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. Get back up to the beginning position as you exhale. If you are a beginner, start with bending your legs at the knees so that you do not have to lift your whole body. Start with a small number of repetitions and gradually increase it.

Lunges

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Lunges can help develop lower body strength and endurance, and unlike squats, they are highly effective at harmonizing muscle imbalances. They are also a great beginner move. Stand tall with feet-hip width apart. Take a big step forward with right leg and start to shift weight forward so that heel hits the floor first. Lower body until right thigh is parallel to floor and right shin is vertical. Press into right heel to drive back up to starting position. Repeat on the other side.

Back pedalling

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Run back with short, quick steps, pumping your arms and landing on the balls of your feet. Keep your chest up and take as many steps as possible. It activates the hips backwards. Use 15 to 20 yard distance to perform this warm-up drill.

Upper body twist

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Stand straight with your legs apart. Inhale and raise the hands up from the sides on the shoulder level. Exhale and turn to left in the waist keeping both the arms and shoulders straight. Turn as far as possible. Inhale and twist back to the front. Exhale and twist to the right side. One round is complete. Repeat the same way. This warm-up works your upper body, lower body and core all at the same time. It is an effective cardio workout and gives you a strong core, toned tummy and a smaller toned waist.

Bicycle crunches

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It is one of the most effective warm -up exercise for abdominal muscles. The move activates the muscles of the abdomen better than the traditional crunch and several other abs work out. The bicycle crunch addresses almost all the muscles of the abdomen. Lie on your back and lift your knees up to form a 90 degree angle on your hip and knee joints. Cradle the back of your head upper neck with your hands. Lift your right shoulder towards your left knee. Simultaneously, extend the right leg. Repeat on the opposite side. Move slowly to get the most muscle activation.

The health benefits of warm up exercises are considerable. You can build strong body, toned muscles and help to maintain your weight. Also, your heart will stay healthy as they are great for your cardiovascular health. A dynamic warm-up increases body temperature, heart rate and reduces pre-workout stress, anxiety and increases focus and alertness.