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When you're trying to squeeze in a quick HIIT routine or speedy full-body strength workout, the last thing you probably want to do is tack on an extra five-minute warm-up. But just a few simple warm-up exercises can make a pretty big difference when it comes to your performance and recovery.

"Warming up before a workout is extremely important," says fitness instructor and trainer at bande Mindy Lai. "When your muscles are cold, they are harder to move. If you hop into a class with zero warm-up or stretch, chances are you'll walk out with an injury."

Beyond injury prevention, easing in with a warm-up can activate your central nervous system and help prepare your body for movement.

Lai also adds that without an adequate warm-up "you won't get the most out of your workout, because you won't be able to move as limberly from the beginning of class." In other words, kicking things off with some dynamic movement can help support your mobility and range of motion.

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Research has long shown that regular exercise has a slew of health benefits like helping to prevent high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

Now researchers say regular activity could help protect against severe Covid hospitalizations.

In a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers and physicians at Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center in Southern California, the University of California, San Diego, and other institutions found that Covid patients who regularly exercised before becoming sick were the least likely to be hospitalized, admitted to the ICU and die as a result of their illness.

The study looked at data from nearly 50,000 adult patients in California diagnosed with Covid-19 from January 2020 to the end of October 2020.

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