Before any physical training session commences you should always start with a warm-up. This prepares the body for the activity to come, decreases potential for injury and reduces muscle soreness that can follow exercise.
Warm-up: To start with, do some gentle stretching. This could include shoulder rotations, upper body twists, calf stretches and ankle circles; follow with a low impact activity like running on the spot, light jogging or a brisk walk; finish with some general upper body movements such as light cross-body punching. A warm-up of around ten minutes will prepare your body.
Cool-down: As with the warm-up, a cool-down period is a vital component of any exercise program. This involves a gradual decrease in the intensity of exercise and level of activity, until the heart rate is returned to a resting state. By cooling down you reduce the risk of blood pooling in working muscles and the likelihood of injuries. All you need to do is slow down gradually at the end of your exercise session, so spend 3-5 minutes reducing your pace, allowing your breathing and heart rate to return to normal. If you’re running for instance, slow down to a slow jog or walk for the last few minutes. If you’re cycling, switch to a low gear for the last part of your ride. And finally, finish your exercise routine by stretching any of the major muscle groups you’ve just worked. Try to include your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and calves and hold each stretch without movement for around 15-20 seconds.
Maintain fluids: It’s incredibly important that you keep up your fluids before, during and after exercise. Remaining hydrated will allow you to exercise longer and safer. A banana or protein bar mid-session will give you a bit of extra energy, and always carry water with you.