It's 5:50, class starts at 6:00.....What do you do? Warm up or stretch? Maybe both? Maybe sit here and watch what everyone else is doing? Ok, he's stretching...Wait she's running on spot....Oh no, everyone else is just sitting watching, I wonder if they are as confused as I am????
Sound familiar? Truth is most people don't really know what they are supposed to do before exercising. The good news - According to a lot of research there is no 'wrong' answer. Although that doesn't help anyone looking for an answer.
Here is my recommendation...Choose a full body exercise, or exercises (eg. go for a run, run on spot, squats and push ups, burpies, etc) and spend 8-10 minutes doing these sub maximally (not as hard as you can) at first but slowly do the reps faster and with more power. It's called a warm-up because you are trying to warm up your muscles, so you should be sweating and starting to breath heavy. If your not, the next time you could afford to go a little harder. Then give your self 2-3 minutes to get some water and prepare for activity.
If you have a couple extra minutes try to find a couple muscles that feel tight and 'dynamically' stretch them. If the back of your legs feel tight do some leg swings, your shoulders are stiff do arm swings. Anything that moves your muscles through a full range of motion, in a controlled fashion that is constantly moving. Save the 'static' (standing still) stretches for after your activity is over.
By giving yourself 10-15 minutes to become ready for your workout you will burn more calories during your workout, be more mentally prepared when you start, and be less likely to occur an injury during your workout. Keep in mind that doing a static stretch isn't necessarily wrong before exercise, but with limited time focus your energy on getting blood in your muscles, and breaking a sweat. But everyone is different so find what works for you.
Perspiration Prior to Participation Peaks Power Production,