Warming Up & Cooling Down

Remember it is important to warm up and to cool down.

Warming up is essential before exercising. Start with slow, gentle movements, such as walking, and gradually build the intensity, such as increasing your walking pace to a brisk pace or march or to a gentle jog. Eight to 10 minutes will generally warm up the muscles and get them ready for higher intensity activity.

Immediately after your workout, take time to cool down. This gradually lowers your heart rate and allows your body to recover. It may help reduce muscle injury, stiffness and soreness. Walk or continue your activity at a low intensity for five to 10 minutes. It's then an ideal time to stretch, and you're more likely to improve your flexibility. If it is part of your cool down then stretches should be held for 10 seconds, if it is to improve your range of mobility then hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

The Live Well pages of the NHS Choices website provide more information and advice on training tips and stretching as well as details of their beginner's running initiative 'Couch to 5k'.