The warm-up is an important part of your regular fitness routine. Taking the time to warm-up prepares your body for exercise and reduces the likelihood of injury. Begin your workout with five to 30 minutes (depending on your fitness level and how intensely you plan to exercise) of light cardiovascular activity and stretching to enjoy these benefits.
Slowly raises your heart rate – as you warm up your heart rate and circulation rise to help your body prepare for more strenuous activity. The extra few minutes you take to warm up help you meet the demands of exercise without placing undue stress on your heart.
Improves performance – According to active.com, when you are relaxed, sitting in your chair you experience a relatively low 15 to 20-percent of blood flow to your skeletal muscles. Most of the small blood vessels (capillaries) within those muscles are closed. After 10 to 12 minutes of total body exercise, blood flow to the skeletal muscles increases to some 70 to 75 percent and the capillaries open. Ultimately this means better performance on the court or the track. That’s because more oxygen and blood are being delivered to your muscles so they work harder. Response time is also improved. As your body temperature rises during warm-up the speed of nerve impulses to muscles gets faster, too.
Slowly increases your mobility and loosens your joints – According to the American Heart Association, stretching allows for greater range of motion and eases the stress on the joints and tendons, which could potentially prevent injury. As you warm up your body temperature rises, making muscles and joints more pliable so they work better and are less vulnerable to injury. Warming up also boosts synovial fluid, or joint lubrication, so you move smoothly – like a well-oiled machine.
Warming up is good for your mind, too – warming up provides psychological as well as physical benefits. In those few minutes before exercise or your event, warming up helps you boost mental preparedness. Hone your focus and sharpen a winning attitude with regular warm-ups.
To warm up effectively use the same muscles you will engage during your workout. Just use them at a slower pace to give your circulatory and respiratory as well as muscles and tendons to adjust to the increased demand. Five to ten minutes is sufficient for most people, but if you are a more experienced athlete or are planning a very vigorous workout, your warm up should be longer.