You may be tempted to jump right into your exercise routine, but doing a short warm-up can be very beneficial. In particular, although it’s often overlooked, a knee warm-up routine before your workout or sport can help reduce your risk of injury, minimize soreness and increase performance.

“An effective warm-up will also work on improving your joint proprioception (also known as body awareness), prime your nervous system for your workout ahead and increase blood flow to the specific muscles you will be working in your workout,” says Grayson Wickham, PT, DPT, CSCS, founder of Movement Vault.

Aside from the physical benefits, warming up helps prepare you mentally for your workout, which also helps improve performance, according to a February 2018 study in the ​Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation​.

The best warm-up before you exercise should consist of dynamic (moving) stretches and movements, including motions that mimic the activity you’ll perform. Try out the mobility moves from Wickham below to get your knees warmed up and ready for action.

Plan on warming up for 5 to 10 minutes but no more 20 minutes. Wickham says that if you have arthritis in your knee or another knee injury, such as patella-femoral pain syndrome, meniscus tears and ITB syndrome, a knee warm-up routine is especially beneficial. Just be sure your doctor has cleared you for exercise.

Try This 5-Minute Knee Warm-Up
“The goal of an effective warm-up is to actively contract all of your muscles around a specific joint, as well as moving your joint through its full range of motion,” he says. This 5-minute routine does just that.