Heart Health

22 December 2008

Exercise: warming up

A warming up period of five minutes should always precede any form of physical activity. This prevents stiff muscles, and ensures that your pulse and breathing rates are increased.


A warming-up period of five minutes should always precede any form of physical activity. This prevents stiff muscles. It also ensures that your pulse and breathing rates are increased, which contributes to effective exercising.

The warming exercises should be repeated about ten times during the five-minute period.

Just follow these steps:

  • Raise your shoulders when inhaling. Drop your shoulders when exhaling.
  • Place your hands on your hips and bend over from side to side. The muscles in your side must pull, not in your back.
  • Inhale while raising your arms sideways and count to five. Slowly drop your arms while exhaling.
  • Place your hands on your hips, slowly moving your torso from side to side.
  • While seated, lift one foot from the floor and make a cycling motion with one leg at a time. Make a slow circular motion with each ankle by rotating the foot.
  • Bend your knees slightly. While keeping your torso still, move your hips slowly in a circle.
  • Stand behind a chair while holding onto the back of the chair. Keep your back straight. Raise your body by standing on your toes. Count to five and lower yourself slowly until your heels touch the floor.

It's a good idea to follow the above-mentioned steps after exercise to relax the muscles and regulate your breathing.

Source: "Heart attack: what now?" produced by Parke-Davis, courtesy of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa.

- (Updated May 2008)


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