Most exercise-related injuries have the same basic cause - the overstressing of muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and other tissue. With sufficient precautions and care, risks can be minimized. Warming up slowly and cooling down properly can help prevent many stress injuries. To be effective, your warm-up and cool-down exercises should use the same muscles as your main exercise. For example, if you jog, begin by walking for several minutes, then jog slowly, before breaking into a full stride. Do this before and after your regular exercise. Every athlete should include a 15-minute warm up and cool down program as part of the workout. This will increase flexibility, reduce muscle soreness, and improve overall performance. Other good principles to follow during exercise are: know your body's limitations and warning signals; drink plenty of water; and never combine heavy eating with heavy exercising. For more information on the benefits of warming up and cooling down, consult a physician.
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