The warming-up process should improve performance. It has a positive impact on power, speed, suppleness and the athlete’s endurance capacity. Warming-up can also prevent sporting injuries.
A warm-up is done to gradually prepare you, both mentally and physically, for exercise. The aim of the ‘physical aspect’ of the warm-up is to push the heart rate, circulation and lungs and muscles further than during a rest period. A good warm-up therefore involves cardiovascular exercises (heart and blood vessels) and stimulates muscles. Circulation to the muscles improves, providing more oxygen. The ‘mental aspect’ must also be considered. The warm-up is a great moment to concentrate and prepare yourself mentally for the upcoming physical exertion.
There is a distinction between active and passive warm-ups. During an active warm-up, the body temperature is raised by active movements of the most important muscle groups. This can involve hopping, jogging, skipping, cycling on a home-trainer, etc. During a passive warm-up, the body temperature is raised by an external method, such as massage, warming ointment, steam baths, etc. However, this passive warm-up does not protect against injuries so the active warm-up must be prioritised before exercise. It can be used as supplementary to but NOT as a replacement for an actual warm-up routine.
Your warm-up must be gradual and progressive. Make sure that the temperature in the muscles increases without tiring them out. The intensity of the warm-up routine depends on you. Something that may be a warm-up for one person could be exhausting for another. When warming-up you should be capable of holding a conversation. There are only disadvantages to warming-up if it is not carried out effectively (too intensive, too long) as this can have a negative effect on the exercise itself.