Athletes who warm up before training perform better and are less likely to injure themselves, notes Sven Fikenzer, a sport scientist at the German University of Applied Sciences for Prevention and Health Management.
He said that warming up the body loosens tense muscles and increased both blood supply to tendons and lubrication of cartilage in joints. This helps to prevent torn muscles and tendons as well as cartilage damage. It also improves neuromuscular coordination and reaction time.
As a general rule, the body has to be warmed up at moderate intensity, preferably with exercises, to avoid the risk of diminished performance and longer regeneration periods. The warm-up should last at least 10 minutes but 15 is better, Fikenzer said.
“When the core body temperature is raised, metabolic, supply and disposal processes are all optimized,” he remarked.
“Studies show that the choice of a passive or active warm-up – for example a heat bath as opposed to a turn on an ergometer – has no effect on performance. The active form is much better for – and easier on – joint cartilage, though.”