The Importance Of Cooling Down

When you have a tough workout, cooling down is extremely important. Your heart is pumping rapidly and your muscles are warm and flexible. When you abruptly stop the workout, the blood isn’t being pushed strongly by the heart and tends to pool in the extremities. That means it doesn’t circulate as much to your head, which causes your blood pressure to drop. A sudden drop in blood pressure can create dizziness and fainting.

You’ll avoid pain later with a few minutes of cool down.

One of the problems with stopping abruptly, besides the potential for fainting, is that when blood pools in your limbs, it doesn’t provide an opportunity to remove lactic acid build up that’s most efficiently removed with gentle exercise. A gentle cool down not only helps eliminate the lactic acid build-up that can cause aches and pains, it also helps protect the muscles. When you workout, your muscles become flexible and loose, which is why your legs often feel like jelly afterward. A cool down returns them to normal length and tension, to help avoid injury.

There are two different types of stretching exercises for warm ups and cool downs.

While you may think that all stretching is alike, and use the same one for both warm up and cool down, there’s a better way. There are several types of stretching exercises, but the two that effect warm up and cool down are static and dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretching is best for warming up. It often mimics some of the movements you’ll be doing during your workout or sport. It might be lunges, high kicks or any exercise that stretches the muscles while moving in various directions. The best cool down are static stretches. It’s a stretch and hold strategy. Think touching your toes or a standing quadricep stretch.

Cool down exercises are the best opportunity to increase your range of motion.

You already know that doing cool down exercises can help your muscle tension return from loose to normal tension. That means it’s the ideal time to improve your range of motion, when the muscles are the most flexible. The static stretches not only help you cool down, you’ll find that doing your cool down boosts your flexibility.

  • After a workout, your body needs to return to homeostasis—a balanced state. A cool down allows it to do that slowly, while allowing you to enjoy the endorphins created during the workout—hormones that make you feel good.
  • Even though static stretching is a good cool down that can also increase your range of motion, simply walking will work.
  • Make sure you block the last five to ten minutes of your workout for cool down exercises. It can even be similar to your workout, but done with less intensity. For instance, walking after a run is an example.
  • Don’t forget a warm up session, which is as important as a cool down one. The warm up prepares your body for the workout and helps prevent injury.

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