To stay safe and get the most out of your workout you must always include a pre-workout warm-up before you begin and then finish with a cool down to get your body back into gear. If you’re short on time, you may feel tempted to skip a warmup and jump right into your workout. But doing so can increase your risk of injury, and put more strain on your muscles. When preparing for any kind of exercise, whether it’s a cardio workout, strength training, or a team sport, it’s important to take a few minutes to ease your muscles into exercise mode. Doing so can help you reap many fitness rewards. During a workout we can all go from zero to hero and push hard but the safe way to train is to bring the body’s temperature up slowly and loosen up the muscles before we get to do anything serious. That’s what warm-ups are designed to do. Stretching, on the other hand, is done in order to improve overall flexibility. Once muscles have worked they are at their most compliant state and they let us stretch further than we normally would gaining more ground while we are at it. Warmups are critical to a better performance and fewer injuries but stretching is somewhat of an optional extra, but it is highly recommended. Warm-ups should always be dynamic, always use active exercises to get our bodies ready. We need to get the blood flowing, especially during colder seasons. Our bodies benefit from stretches after we have already worked out (cool down). Our muscles are more susceptible to them allowing us to stretch further and hold the stretches longer.