Whether your workout plan is a fitness routine in the gym or a 5K run, warming up should be the first thing on your to-do-list. Experts agree a warm-up should heat and loosen the body, and prepare the mind for action.

Warm up exercises consist of low-intensity workouts that are performed before starting any strenuous physical activity. These exercises form the basis of any exercise program that increases body temperature and heartbeat to prepare the body for the upcoming physical activities such as cycling, hiking, strength training exercise and many more.

Below is the list of warm up exercises that will help in increasing flexibility and enhancing the effectiveness of any workout session.

Squat thrusts (burpees)

Burpee is an effective calisthenics exercise that not only warm up the muscles, but also helps in toning the lower body. In addition, it also helps in working the core muscles, abdomen, and chest.

How to: stand straight and then come to a squat a position by bending your knees. Now lower your body further to take up a pushup position. Perform a push up, and jump to bring your feet under you, stand up by jumping as high as you can. Repeat the whole motion 6 to 10 times.

Push ups

Push up is a basic body-weight exercise that must be included in the warm up sets in order to increase the output of the workout session. It is known as one of the exercises to lose arm fat and helps in toning the upper body—chest and shoulders. It also helps in improving core strength and bone mass, and reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis in the future,

How to: lie face down on the exercise mat in the plank position with your hands holding up your torso. Keep your feet closed and lower your body while inhaling and keeping your back flat and neck neutral. Keep your core engaged at all times and exhale while pushing up, repeat it 10 to 15 times.

Knee lift lunge

The knee lift lunge is a variation of the classic lunge that helps in stretching the glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings and chest. It also improves balance, form and tightens the core.

How to: stand straight with your legs hip-width apart. Raise your right knee and grab the kneecap with both hands, pulling it towards your chest. Release it and take a step forward with the right leg and lower your body to a lunge position. Hold the posture for 2 seconds and return to the starting position. Repeat it by rising up your left leg (this makes 1 repetition). Repeat the set 8 to 10 times at a stretch.

Kneeling extension

Kneeling extension helps in stretching and toning the shoulders and upper back. It also helps in strengthening the core muscles and increase flexibility.

How to: get down on all fours and keep your back flat. Keep your arms straight and palms resting flat on the floor. Now, put your right hand on the back of your head, rotate your head and torso to the left inward so that your right elbows points in. Then, rotate it outwards (to the right) so that now your right elbow points toward the ceiling while turning your head and upper back as far right as you can. The entire movement makes 1 repetition. Repeat it 15 to 20 times.

High knee skips

High knee skips help in extending and stretching the ankles, knees and hips. It is an amazing cardiovascular exercise that helps in losing belly fat.

How to: stand straight and start the skips by raising your knees up and maintaining a 90-degree angle. Propel yourself forward while moving your arms opposite your legs as you skip forward. Do it for 1 to 2 minutes at a stretch.

Remember that you should also do a stretching routine at the end of every workout.

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