woman stretching on the street outdoors
 Does your workout consist of three parts: the warm-up, the exercise and the cool down? We have all heard how important it is to warm up and cool down. Have you ever wondered why? While the warm up and cool down might not seem as important as the exercise, they are necessary for your overall health and fitness performance. Give your muscles a chance to get ready for your workout. And, don’t forget the most important muscle: your heart!

>> Try this: 7-Minute Total Body Cardio Warm-Up

When starting any workout you should prepare the body for activity by warming up.  The warm-up should be active and move the joints through their full range of motion. The warm-up progresses from low intensity towards high intensity. This helps your heart rate rise, as well as your body temperature, while simultaneously preparing the muscles to endure the exercise. Warming up is vital to a successful workout. Some example warm-up exercises include calisthenics, yoga, walking, jumping jacks, jumping rope, jogging or a combination of different movements.

stretching woman

After finishing an exercise routine, the cool down is just as important as the warm-up (click here to geek out to the science behind cool downs). This step, like the warm-up, is a way to prevent injuries, tears or strains. It is also important because it helps bring your heart rate back to a normal state, while helping the body clear lactic acid that builds up during any activity. Less lactic acid means less soreness and stiffness the next day! Less soreness and stiffness will keep you motivated to stick to your workout routine and become more successful. Discover easy ways to relieve your sore muscles here.