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A procedure, used prior to competition or hard training, by which an athlete attains the optimal body core temperature and specific muscle temperature for performance, and prepares physically and mentally for the activity. A rise in temperature may be gained passively by taking a warm bath, but it more commonly involves taking light aerobic exercise. There is a lack of general agreement about the effects of the warm-up, but the possible advantages include an increased metabolic rate; increased heart rate with improved oxygen and fuel transport to the muscles; increased speed of nerve conduction; and increased speed of muscle contraction. The warm-up procedure varies, but usually involves 15–30 min of static stretching, callisthenics, and other exercises designed to reduce the risk of muscle and joint injury and fully prepare the muscles for the specific activity to be undertaken. See also warm-up decrement.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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