How much does it matter?
You might as well run your car without oil and see how long it lasts.
Warming up properly before exercise is incredibly important. Not only does it help reduce injury, it will also improve your performance.
Are you the stretch-and-go type?
Save the static stretching for after the workout! Sitting and touching your toes or getting a quick calf stretch before going for a run is just not going to cut it. Static stretching (holding a stretch for 10+ seconds) actually weakens your muscles/tendons before exercise and decreases power output. While some static stretching is OK before exercise, save the majority for after a workout to increase flexibility when the muscles are nice and warm.
What should you do?
First -Dynamic Stretching
Move the muscles through their full range of motion under light tension.
Example: Overhead squats, Single leg good mornings, inch-worms, lunges, All-Americans. Not sure what these are? Stop in to Elevate and I’ll show you a few.
Second -Light Cardio
Let your heart know it is about to undergo an ass-kicking. Do this and you won’t burn out so easily and your workouts will be more effective with increased performance.
Example: Stationary bike, speed ladder, light jog, carioca, side shuffle, agility drills.
Ok so what are the actual benefits??
1. Blood is the Key Ingredient
Forcing blood into your extremities is the main goal. This increases the temperature of the muscles and delivers key nutrients and oxygen to the muscles for increased performance. By heating up muscles and tendons they are also less likely to rip, tear, or fray.
2. Increase Nerve Response
Static stretching forces the nerves to relax which is key for increasing flexibility, but we are about to hammer a workout so we want to activate nerves. Progressively exciting your nerves through a dynamic warm-up will increases their response time and will improve muscle output during more intense exercise.
3. Protect the Joints
Ball-in-socket joints need to be lubricated before/during excise. Your body is a genius. As soon as it experiences light to moderate weight bearing activities it will secrete an egg yoke-like substance into the joint. This creates an additional layer of protection and helps the joint articulate properly.