Cooling down your mind and body after a workout is an essential thing to do. Cooling down can last up to 3 to 10 minutes and includes performing stretches or gentle variations of the movement you did during the workout. The main aim of cooling down after exercise is to allow your heart rate and breathing to come back to normal and to promote relaxation.
Most people might be aware of the benefits of warming up before exercising, but skip the post-workout cool down routine. Let’s look at the reasons why cooling down after a workout is important.
Why is Cooling Down After Exercise Important?
While there might be several reasons as to why you should set aside a few minutes to cool down your body after a workout, it helps in gradually slowing down your heart rate, preventing injuries and all other good things!
It doesn’t take a long time, so from anywhere between 3 to 10 minutes, your body begins to recover in a healthy way. Here are some main arguments in favor of including a cool down at the end of the exercise.
Lowers Heart Rate
This is the biggest reason to cool down after your exercise regime. As you perform a warm up before the workout, your heart rate goes up as your heart pumps out even more blood around your body to supplement your muscles to work harder.
It is normal to feel dizzy or light-headed after performing a workout, as your blood pressure tends to fall really quickly once you finish exercising. The best way to prevent his from happening is to perform a five-to-ten-minute cool-down to help the blood pressure drop gradually in order to prevent any kind of injury.
When you are leading an active lifestyle, it is always important to be aware of the risks of exercising, especially true for extreme weather or pre-existing medical conditions. Give enough time to your body to cool down to avoid your blood pressure to drop drastically.
Exercise helps in benefiting the mind as well as the body and triggers good mood and an overall positive outlook on life. As exercising helps your mind to focus, cooling down after the workout is an opportunity to look over your body’s accomplishments, your fitness or any other goals and to feel better overall.
Having such moments of reflection are essential, especially when you are surrounded by non-stop communication around you on a daily basis. Exercising and cooling down provides an opportunity for contemplation on the mind and the self, while allowing the body to begin the recovery process. Cooling down is equally important for the mind as it is for the body.
Prevents Injury Risks
As warming up has several benefits, cooling down is also essential is preventing risks of injuries, such as muscle tears or strain on muscles. Once your muscles have been worked well, they need proper stretching while they are still warm. This helps in elongating the muscle fibers, which have been under strain while workout.
For instance, when you go for a long run without stretching out your muscles, your body becomes sore and reduces the benefits you could reap from the workout. It is a shame to put in so much effort into working out to tone your muscles, and then not take good care of them once the exercise is over.
Reduces DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
You must have noticed that the muscles tend to sore after exercising and when a significant number of DOMS kicks in after the workout, it becomes really uncomfortable and prevents you from exercising in the future.
According to a study by California State University, performing a moderate intensity cycling after a heavy workout can reduce the onset on DOMS. This indicates that cooling down after exercising helps in alleviating excessive muscle soreness, keeping you more comfortable and ready for the next workout. DOMS occurs between 24 to 48 hours after exercising, so it is a crucial time to perform cooling down exercises immediately after exercising.
One of the most important factors of cooling down is improving your body’s flexibility capabilities. As the muscles are warmed up, they are more elastic and you can utilize them in your cool-down stretching. As it reduces the chances of injuries, flexibility helps in keeping your muscles from becoming too tight or stiff.
Some recommended stretches are:
- Standing or Seated Toe Touches
- Deep Lunges with a Torso Twist
- Figure 4 Stretches
- Side Stretch
- Upper Chest Stretches
Holding each of the above-mentioned stretches for about 10 to 20 seconds really helps. Always remember that stretching should not be painful, do not over exert your body and muscles. Breathe along stretching and you can always improvise as per your convenience, but statis stretches are the best to cool down your body and mind.
Better Waste Removal
A great workout helps in generating metabolic wastes such as lactic acid and hydroxyproline. The waste products flow all over the body down to individual muscle cells. The fluid surrounding them, as well as the capillaries, veins and lungs, need to be flushed out before you go into complete relaxation mode.
With the help of cool-down exercises and stretches, the process of waste removal from your body becomes easier and more flowing throughout the muscles, veins, capillaries and all other parts of the body.
The Bottom Line
Now as you know the importance of cooling down and why is it so effective after intense workout of cardio and aerobics. It not only increases flexibility, but also encourages safe activities towards recovering of lost fluids and helps in muscle repairs and waste removal from body.
Let us know if you found this article useful, & if it helped you feel better cooling-down after your intense workout session!