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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?


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.


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


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



from head to feet...

michael me warm up feet

…interlaced with methodical stretching.


michael and me stretch

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.