For some people, myself included, just getting around to exercising can be a struggle. Going through the proper warm-ups beforehand, however, can be even harder. Maybe you know that stretching is best left until after your workout, but do you know the best way to prepare for your exercise?
This advice comes from a story we published back in 2014, which came from an interview carried out with Dr Brian Parr:
Stretching is not a good warm-up. Most people don’t do this, but flexibility exercises should be done after a good warm-up or at the end of an exercise session. …A good warm-up should be at least 5-10 minutes of aerobic/endurance exercise done at a lower intensity than the workout (or event or sport) that emphasises the muscles you will use. A practical recommendation is to do a whole-body exercise (rowing machine, elliptical machine, etc.) for 5-10 min before starting your workout. There are also a lot of whole-body exercises that don’t involve equipment that are good alternatives.
So basically, you want to figure out the areas of your body that are going to be exercised and formulate a warm-up that targets those areas. As for stretching? Well, there are conflicting opinions on whether it’s actually useful for your physical health, but it does feel good to be properly stretched. Instead of stretching before your exercise, work it in at the end as you cool down to help your muscles relax.
Lifehacker’s Classic Hacks is a regular segment where we dig up the most popular, useful and offbeat advice from our archives and update it for your modern lifestyle.