Do You Warm Up Before You Exercise?

This article about warming up before exercise came through my Twitter feed (@2CFC) and caught my attention. I clicked through.

The premise was that many people overdo it when they warm up and are tired by the time they start exercising. Interesting.

But it didn’t take too much reading before noting that the warm-ups in question were ridiculously long and intense. The first ones noted were just shy of half an hour in duration, and included both intervals and hitting 95% of max heart rate.

That’s a warm up?

My recommendation to clients is to warm up for about five minutes. Movements should be gentle to muscles — including the heart — but work them more than their typical daily movements. When I warm up, sometimes I will use movements that mimic the exercises to come, and sometimes I’ll just do a generic warm up such as walking/jogging.

Studies are inconclusive, but, much like studies done on stretching, most are done poorly and don’t take many mitigating factors into effect. I know that I feel better when I have my heart pumping a bit before I get into heavier work. Has it decreased injury? I can’t say for sure, but in the years I’ve been exercising and racing, I’ve only had one injury — a ridiculously tight hamstring — over two years ago. Not a bad record.

Do you warm up? Do you notice a difference if/when you don’t?

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