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You don't have to be hot. You do have to be warm

According to the National Sports Medicine Institute UK, “The warm-up should gently prepare the body for exercises by gradually increasing the heart rate and circulation; this will loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles. Stretching the muscles prepares them for physical activity and prevents injuries.”

Doesn’t that sound dull?

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So here’s a better reason. You can try to go from nought to 100% in 30 seconds but you’ll disappoint yourself. 

My running warm-up goes like this: walk for one song, run for one song, walk for one song, run and keep running. You won’t find it in any running manual. There are a lot of things wrong with it. But I do eight dance classes a week that make up for its failings and, Believe it or Not!?, hop hop warm-ups (I do four a week) are flawlessly thorough.

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We start by “increasing the heart rate and circulation” with what is technically known as “a bit of a groove”. 

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Then we do the serious job of waking up every muscle group and freeing up every joint, one by one…

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from head to feet...

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…interlaced with methodical stretching.

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Being able to move your body parts in isolation from the others has the long term advantage of helping you avoid a Zimmer frame later in life. More important, though, is the immediate advantage. It’s really sexy.

With thanks to Michael Beirouthy (Mish), who is hot.