Warming up

Warming up is a part of stretching and preparation for physical exertion or a performance by exercising or practicing gently beforehand, usually undertaken before a performance or practice. 

Warming up is believed to prepare the muscles for vigorous actions and to prevent muscle cramps and injury due to overexertion.

A warm-up generally consists of a gradual increase in intensity in physical activity, joint mobility exercise, and stretching, followed by the activity. 

Before running or playing an intensive sport, athletes might slowly jog to warm their muscles and increase their heart rate. 

Warm-ups must be be specific to the activity, so that the muscles to be used are activated. 

The risks and benefits of combining stretching with warming is generally believed to prepare the athlete both mentally and physically.

Stretching is part of some warm-up routines, although a study indicated  that it weakens muscles in that situation.

There are 3 types of stretches: ballistic, dynamic, and static.

Ballistic Stretches involve bouncing or jerking, and helps extending limbs during exercise, promoting agility and flexibility.

Static Stretches involve flexing the muscles. 

Static Stretches may help preventing injury and permit greater flexibility and agility. 

However, static stretching for too long may weaken the muscles. 

Dynamic Stretching involves moving the body part in the desired way until reaching the full range of motion, to improve performance.

There is contradictory evidence in terms of benefits of comprehensive warm-ups for preventing injury in football (soccer) players.

It is suggested that it is specifically warm ups aimed at increasing body temperature, rather than targeting stretching, which can prevent injury.

Warming up before an eccentric exercise reduces the severity of delayed onset muscle soreness.

In baseball, warm-up swings using a standard weight bat are effective in increasing batting speed.

In a meta-analysis, about four-fifths of the studies there was improvement in performance with various physical activities with warm-ups as opposed to without warm-ups.

An increase in body temperature, specifically in the muscles, improves explosive skeletal muscle performance of jumping and sprinting.

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