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Warning over exercise warm-ups

Many adults are increasing the risk of injury and osteoarthritis in later life by not exercising or not doing so safely, a survey suggests.

One in five people said they always warm up and cool down when doing exercise, when not doing so increases the possibility of joint problems in later life.

Reasons given for not warming up included "can't be bothered" (28%) and "it's not important" (27%).

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of people who never warm up said they had never been shown how to.

Only 17% of people who warm up "rehearse" the movements associated with the activity, the survey by Arthritis Research UK and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) shows.

Dr Helena Johnson, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy chairwoman, said: "These survey findings are of great concern. Far too few of us are doing enough daily exercise - and many people who are physically active are not exercising safely. Failing to warm up first and cool down afterwards may increase the chances of suffering an injury, which could potentially lead to problems like osteoarthritis in later life."

She added: "Doing some exercise every day helps keep joints supple and muscles healthy. Simple warm-up exercises increase the blood flow to the muscles and make them more mobile.

"Cooling down after exercise is also important as it can help to prevent next day stiffness. Pain, during or after exercise, is a signal that your body may be having problems, and it shouldn't be ignored."

The Active Age 2012 survey, carried out by the CSP, quizzed 2,583 adults and 1,022 children across the UK, asking about their physical activity levels over the previous week.

Just 5% of adults are doing the recommended amount of two and a half hours of exercise a week and only 8% of children are doing the suggested 60 minutes a day.

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