The Importance of Cooling Down
September 20, 2018
Did you know that the most important function of the post-exercise cool down is to prevent dizziness? The blood vessels in your legs expand when the body goes through vigorous exercise, bringing more blood to your hands and feet.
When the body goes from a fast-paced cardio workout, to a sudden state of rest without cooling down, your heart rate will slow abruptly. This can cause dizziness and even fainting.
Effects of Cooling Down
After working out, a cool down will help the body dispose of toxins and waste products created during exercise, such as lactic acid. Adding a cool down after a workout will also help to prevent an injury from taking place, as well as blood pooling. Additionally, doing this after a workout can help to decrease joint or muscle soreness.
Cooling Down Properly
When cooling down, it’s important to focus on slowly bringing your heart rate to a resting level. For example, runners who just raced a 5K will often cool down for several minutes after their race by running at a slower pace. This is usually much slower than a warm up, which gears runners up for the start of their race. Cool downs should last for at least five minutes, but it is best to keep moving if your heart rate has not yet elevated.
Jogging isn’t the only way to cool down, as different workouts require different muscles in the body. For those that have just completed a strength training workout, a cool down could include total body stretches that focus on the joints that were just worked. Yoga is another great way to end a workout by helping to relax the body and keep it healthy. Whatever activity you participate in, be sure to reserve time for a cool down in order to maximize your workout and allow your body to recover properly.
This article was adapted from Live Strong, Sports Medicine Information and Very Well Fit. Read more here, here and here.