As Wimbledon draws to a close this weekend, tennis courts mostly abandoned for much of the year fill up.

Those inspired by the game want to get in to shape for the summer.

But any type of exercise, especially if you are not used to it, can lead to injuries and aches because a person is not prepared enough.

Siobhan Ryan speaks to a woman who has plenty of advice to help people safely get fit over the summer.

It seems like a good idea at the the time to get the trainers out, start jogging and launch into a fitness campaign for the summer.

But without the right preparation, it won't be long before a person finds themselves heading to their doctor's with injured legs, feet and back.

The physiotherapy department at Southlands Hospital in Shoreham sees about 1,000 patients a week and a large number of these are there with sports-related injuries.

Physiotherapist Emma Eve says it is simply a matter of making sure you take care of yourself.

She said: "If you think of a car, you have to maintain it properly. If you just keep on using it all the time without any maintenance then eventually it is going to give up on you.

"We see a lot of people here who have developed problems with their back or their knees because they have not warmed up properly before exercise or cooled down afterwards.

"Because of this, they face long-term problems. All it takes is making sure you spend some time preparing your body first before launching into any type of exercise.

"This is particularly important for people who have not done any exercise before."

Miss Eve says a warm up is important whether you are in the gym, taking a gentle run around the park, on the tennis court or taking part in the London to Brighton bike ride.

A warm up increases blood flow to the muscles and other soft tissues, an important factor in avoiding damage to ligaments, muscles and tendons.

Cooling down helps your body return to normal and should also prevent next-day muscle stiffness.

Before stretching, start with five to ten minutes light activity such as fast walking or slow jogging on the spot.

This should raise your body temperature and bring you out in a slight sweat.

Stretching should be a gentle movement don't try to force the stretch by bouncing or over-reaching anddon't try to do too much, too soon.

James Phillips from Shoreham says he suffered from knee problems shortly after taking up running.

He said: "I knew about warming up but I only stretched for a few seconds.

"I didn't overdo the running and had the correct trainers, so I couldn't work out why I started getting problems with my knees.

"Eventually, I got so bad that I had to give up running and go for physiotherapy.

"It was while I was there they told me I had not been warming up properly and so my muscles and ligaments were not coping.

"I'm a lot better now and I intend to carry on running but, this time, I'll make sure I'm prepared."

Miss Eve says there are a series of basic exercises that can be done to warm up properly.

Each one should be held for 15 seconds and repeated four times.

The calf stretch involves standing with one foot forwards, knees bent.

Your back knee should be straight and facing forwards. Lean forward over your bent knee without bending at the waist, keeping the back heel on the floor.

You should feel a gentle pull in the calf of the back leg.

When it comes to the hamstring stretch, the person should lie on their back with one knee bent. With both hands they should support the back of their thigh.

As they straighten their leg, make sure their back is flat on the floor and their chin is tucked into their neck.

The hip stretch involves sitting with one leg stretched out in front of you.

Cross the other leg over it. Using one arm for support, turn the upper body towards the bent knee.

Put the opposite hand on the outside of the bent knee and continue moving towards the bent knee until you feel the stretch.

*Copies of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists leaflet called Warming up to Exercise are available from: Communications, The CSP, 14 Bedford Road, London, WC1R 4ED.