Why is it important to warm up before an exercise?

Warming up your muscles before your workout helps your muscles adjust to the exercises that you'll be doing, and it's a great way to slowly increase your heart rate. Your warm-up could include taking a brisk walk or bike ride or simply marching or jogging in place, or doing some jumping jacks for one to three minutes.

A proper total body warm up for a period of 5 to 10 minutes before any exercising is important to prevent injuries and get the body prepare for the workout.  A total body warm up can increase your body elasticity by 20% and get your synovial fluid going in the joints.  A good indication to know when you're properly warmed up and ready for stretching and exercising is when you notice sweat/moisture appearing on your forehead, back of hands, or under the nose. 

Warming up prior to exercise is extremely important to avoid injury.  Having an injury occur is never a pleasant experience and one that you want to avoid.  In addition, you will be able to benefit more from warming up prior to exercise.  Reasoning for more benefit included changes for increase strength and/or increased calories burned.  This occurs due to your body being properly ready for the activity in which you are about to start.

Grant Cooper, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Without the warm-up, your stretching may result in injury when you try to stretch tight muscles. Your warm-up can be a brisk walk or other brief aerobic exercise, or a combination of light aerobic exercise and light weight training such as lifting a 5-pound dumbbell. The important part of any warm-up is to get your heart pumping a little faster than baseline and your blood flowing.

To increase your strength, you need to push your muscles to work past their comfort zone. Generally speaking, the harder you push your muscles, the stronger they will become. Similarly, you must overstretch to a certain extent to increase your flexibility. This is one of the reasons warming up is so important.
The Arthritis Handbook: Improve Your Health and Manage the Pain of Osteoarthritis (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.