Warming up is important prior to exercise, but which type of warmup is best for performance? Both active (dynamic warm up) and passive (stretching) increase body temperature, oxygen uptake, metabolism and activate neuronal pathways that can improve performance.
Although many people think that stretching (static warm up) prior to a workout is essential and beneficial on performance, some studies suggest that stretching prior to workout out or an athletic event does not have any effect on flexibility or physical function compared to those that did not stretch.
One systematic review showed that performing a dynamic warm up lasting 10-15 minutes (examples included short sprints) as well as jogging following a dynamic warm up improved sprint, jumping and agility performance. Studies also recommend that one should limit the rest period between the dynamic warm up and the main event to less than 15 minutes.
Additional studies suggest that incorporating foam rolling as a warm up may have beneficial effects on muscle function, performance and joint range of motion.
Resistance bands are a great way to incorporate dynamic warm ups, stretching, as well as resistance training to help with flexibility and lean muscle mass. Muscle mass is critical for your independence, improves strength, ability to perform activities of daily living, and helps maintain your metabolism. As we get older and/or become more sedentary, our muscle mass diminishes, and our body fat stores increase. That is why it is critically important to perform regular physical activity, particularly resistance training to help maintain your muscle as you get older.
Watch Dr. Michelle Pearlman’s simple at-home warm-up routine using resistance bands
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When starting any exercise program, start slow and progress as you are able. Try to be consistent with any program. You will tend to experience less pain with more frequent bouts of exercise that are shorter in duration, than one longer duration bout of exercise (for example, try to start with any planned activity three days per week for 20-30 minute sessions compared to one day per week for a 90 minute session).
Blazevich AJ, Gill ND, Kvorning T, Kay AD, Goh AG, Hilton B, Drinkwater EJ, Behm DG. No Effect of Muscle Stretching within a Full, Dynamic Warm-up on Athletic Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2018 Jun;50(6):1258-1266. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001539. PMID: 29300214.
Silva LM, Neiva HP, Marques MC, Izquierdo M, Marinho DA. Effects of Warm-Up, Post-Warm-Up, and Re-Warm-Up Strategies on Explosive Efforts in Team Sports: A Systematic Review. Sports Med. 2018 Oct;48(10):2285-2299. doi: 10.1007/s40279-018-0958-5. PMID: 29968230.
Su H, Chang NJ, Wu WL, Guo LY, Chu IH. Acute Effects of Foam Rolling, Static Stretching, and Dynamic Stretching During Warm-ups on Muscular Flexibility and Strength in Young Adults. J Sport Rehabil. 2017 Nov;26(6):469-477. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2016-0102. Epub 2016 Oct 13. PMID: 27736289.
McGowan, C.J., Pyne, D.B., Thompson, K.G. et al. Warm-Up Strategies for Sport and Exercise: Mechanisms and Applications. Sports Med 45, 1523–1546 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-015-0376-x