Some fitness fans might believe that cooling down after exercise is not as important as the workout itself. Is is true that a proper cool down can benefit your body however the benefits are often misunderstood among casual exercisers and fitness professionals alike.
You might think that skipping your post-workout cool down is okay but there are a number of reasons that cooling down is important including allowing your heart rate to return to normal, gradually slows your breathing and improved relaxation after enduring the exercise regime.
Your heart is pumping at an accelerated rate during exercise as the oxygenated blood has to be pumped from your heart and make it all the way through your lower system before making its way back to the heart to be re-oxygenated again. The goal of of cooling down is to lower your heart rate and breathing rate to pre-exercise levels thus making it an important part to gradually let your body come back to a resting & balanced state. As a result, you will be able to take full advantage of the relaxed and euphoric effect on your body.
Besides that, cooling down after exercise can help to prevent dizziness. This is because strenuous exercise results in the blood vessels in your legs to expand in order to bring more blood into the legs and feet. If you stop exercising suddenly without cooling down, your heart rate slows abruptly. Your blood can pool in your lower body and might result in dizziness and even fainting.
Cooling down involves doing your activity at a slower pace and reduced intensity. During this period, continue your workout session but at a much reduced rate. Allow 5-10 minutes after workout for a cool-down routine. There is accumulation of lactic acid within your body system during exercise. It takes time for these substance to be buffered out so 10 minutes of light exercise along with stretching is a great way to begin clearing the lactic acid from the body.
You can start cooling down by reducing the intensity of your activity which gives the blood a chance to re-circulate throughout your body. Conclude your exercise with stretches and gentle movement variations that target muscles that have been overworked during your workout.
Some examples of cooling down activities include:
- Cooling down after a brisk walk: Walk slowly for 5-10 minutes.
- Cooling down after a run: Walk briskly for 5-10 minutes.
- Cooling down after swimming: Swim laps leisurely for 5-10 minutes.
Although there are some studies indicate that there is no empirical evidence that cooling down is effective for improving most psycho-physiological markers of post-exercise recovery, it is undeniable that active cooling down offers some benefits compared with the passive process of the body system after exercise. Cooling down may partially prevent immune system depression and promote faster recovery of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems however it is unknown whether this reduces the likelihood of post-exercise illnesses such as cardiovascular complications.
Skipping cooling down after workout isn’t proven to be harmful to your body, but your body might take longer to return back to the low-intensity level activity level you began your workout with.
If cooling down is done correctly, it may offer help in reducing your risk of injury and improving your fitness performance.