Column: Is warming up before you exercise a waste of time?

Exercise is good for you. This is the gospel that we doctors are enjoined to preach to patients – we even have prescription pads to refer people to the gym.

But there is a snag: the more you exercise, the more likely you are to pick up a sports-related injury. We are taught from an early age that warm-ups and cool-downs are the best way to prevent this, but it is not entirely clear whether either routine does us any good.

The science supporting the notion is far from robust. A review of the evidence published last year by the international, not-for-profit Cochrane Collaboration suggested that warm-ups did not prevent injury or muscle soreness after exercise, while cool-downs did not prevent post-exercise pain either. 

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Margaret McCartney’s Blog

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A forum on healthcare policy and professional issues, by Glasgow-based GP and FT Weekend columnist Margaret McCartney.