Simply moving faster and longer than one usually does will create sweat, but that is not enough to prevent injury or increase facility. Warm up sessions must be carefully designed to increase stamina, strength, stability, and stretch. They must engage the heart, mind, and soul to inspire super human ability. They must build speed, range of motion, and agility. Effective warm-up sessions are more than a regime of stretching and light calisthenics for 20-30 minutes. They involve starting with gross motor skills that advance to fine motor skills patterned after the anticipated activity. They aim to improve balance, breathing, and reflexes. Creating a sense of inner alertness during the warm up session is key to productive activity.
Everyone, every day, needs to warm up for their day-to-day activities focusing on proper alignment and mechanics; otherwise, the body will accumulate poor motor habits that create wear and tear injuries over time. Targeted warm up needs to be incorporated into any (recreational or competitive)physical endeavor, such as sports, dance, hiking, biking, skiing, etc. Don't take your body for granted. You have only one.
While warm up sessions consume energy, they make the main activity easier and safer, ultimately consuming less energy. Athletes can run and jump, dancers can turn, leap and balance without warm up, but their bodies will be less willing, requiring more effort and risking sudden injury. If working on a team or within a cast, an individual who is not thoroughly prepared through warm-up risks hurting others with poor balance, speed, spatial awareness, and more. A thorough warm up is necessary for all involved.
It is the responsibility of the individual to pay attention to how their body feels and do additional individualized exercises to prepare. There are many reasons why an individual may need to start earlier or stay longer than their counterparts in the warm-up session. Anyone going through a growth spurt or change of size and weight will need added time to connect with their changing physique. Anyone who is coming back from time away will need extra time to get back in shape. Anyone who is advancing in age will need more time to move in and out of full range motions. Plus, anyone who has experienced an injury will need added time to devote to their weak areas.
Sometimes an individual may need to re-warm-up if the body had been still for a period of time. With all the things we need to do these days, who has time for another full warm up?! Fortunately, the second warm up usually requires less time. This is the best argument for morning work-outs. A full warm-up, work-out, and cool down, makes the rest of the day more mentally efficient, and physically productive.
Specifically to dance, a warm up is the tune-up for the instrument of expression...the body! A dancer continues to increase every ability competing with oneself. The warm up is essential. Ready? Let's do it!