I think that the expansion of the general mobility benefits is a bit underdone. It’s not just about warming the muscles and slowly building demand on the heart.
- Synovial fluid – you can literally often feel the creaks and pains ease up as you do mobility exercises during warming up.
- The above applies to all the connective tissue and bits that slide on one another.
- You have an opportunity to do regular strengthening and flexibility movements such as strengthening your ankles and feet that you probably would otherwise do.
- Through cross-obers and such you are firing up your neuromuscular pathways.
As to the performance “benefits” – warming up is usually contrasted with stretching in terms of injury prevention. We’ve known for 40 years that stretching before athletic performance is associated with a higher rate of injury – even if noone knows exactly why. So the benefit, as compared to stretching, is fewer injuries.
Beyond that, many of the specific functional preparation exercises you mention are obviously linked to expert analysis of their impact on a specific performance event.
I spend 10+ minutes warming up before and stretching after running every day. I’m convinced that this in one of the practices that enables me to run everyday. But I also understand that most people won’t do this, so something simpler such as walking before running is certainly better than nothing.