Updated April 20, 2010
Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.
If you're in a hurry, you may want to skip your warm up and get right to the nitty gritty, but cold, stiff muscles can lead to injuries. Think of your warm up as a necessity for preparing your body for what's to come. That warm up gets your blood flowing more easily, increasing the length and elasticity of your muscle fibers. That allows you to perform better and protect your body from injury.
Many people stretch before their workouts to avoid injury, but experts have found it doesn't work and it may even set you up for injury. If you do stretch, make sure you do it after your warm up or, even better, after your workout when your muscles are warm and you're ready to relax.
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