"Always warm up before any aerobic activity," says aerobic dance creator Jacki Sorensen. "Five minutes is all it takes to decrease your chance of injury and increase your total well-being."
She presents this five-minute "head-to-toe warm-up" in her new Aerobic Lifestyle Book (Poseidon Press, $15.95, 205 pages):
Stand tall and keep feet a shoulder's width apart unless otherwise directed. Repeat each movement eight times (except 12, 13 and 15) before going on to the next exercise.
1. Say "No." Turn head slowly from right to left.
2. Say "Maybe." Slowly tilt head to right shoulder, then left.
3. Say "Yes." Gently drop chin down, then lift it up.
4. Shoulder Rolls, single. Roll right shouder up, back, down and around in a continuous motion. Repeat with left.
5. Shoulder Rolls, double. Roll both shoulders at the same time.
6. Pull-Back Stretch. Bend elbows and extend your hands about 18 inches in front of your chest. Gently pull your elbows back, then return arms to the front of the chest.
7. Side Bends. With arms at your side, gently bend right, straighten, then bend left.
8. Low Back Twist. With arms at your side, gently twist head and upper body to the right until you can see your heels. Repeat to the left.
9. Knee-Bend Stretch. With feet together, stretch arms down and cross them as your bend knees slightly. Circle your arms across your body and straight up as you straighten your knees. Continue circling arms to beginning position.
10. Sporty Stretch. With feet about three feet apart point right foot outward, keeping left foot facing forward. Bend the right knee and place your hands above it with elbows slightly bent and weight evenly distributed over both legs. Hold eight slow counts. Repeat left.
11. Flamingo Fling. Place left hand on a chair. Raise right foot behind you and grasp ankle with right hand. Holding the ankle, gently bring right knee in line with left leg and hold the stretch eight counts. Repeat left.
12. Hamstring Stretch. Bend arms in front of your chest, push them forward and gently bend forward at the waist as far down as comfortable keeping knees relaxed and chin up. Hold for eight slow counts and straighten slowly, bending knees slightly. Only repeat twice.
13. Knee and Lower Leg Stretch. Place left hand on a chair, raise right knee and grasp below kneecap with your right hand. Rotate lower leg and foot outward, then inward. Only repeat four times--outward and inward--with each leg.
14. Calf Stretch. With feet together, take a big step forward with your right foot, bend right knee and keep left leg straight. Place both hands above your right knee with arms straight. Hold eight slow counts. Repeat left.
15. Foot Stretches. Place hands on hips, feet slightly apart. Shift weight to left leg and rotate right foot outward, then inward. Only make four circles each way with each leg.
16. On Your Toes. With feet together, rise up on toes then lower heels to floor.