A cool down is a vital part of your workout. It can last for three to ten minutes and includes stretching or gentle variations of the exercises you did during your training. The purpose of cooling down after exercise is to allow your heart rate and breathing to return to normal and promote relaxation. Completing a cool down when you finish is essential to gain the most benefits from your work. Learn more about the benefits of a recovery period and how you can include one with your next training session.
What Is a Cool Down?
A cool down is a relaxing period of exercise that promotes recovery. Cool down exercises with low intensity, such as stretching, improve flexibility and circulation. The low resistance and aerobic nature of a cool down decrease the heart rate and breathing rate. Cooling down after a workout helps to reduce muscle soreness. Stretching can also help relieve your muscles of lactic acid buildup during training.
You may have heard of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a popular training method these days. HIIT involves alternating between high-intensity exercise and a cool down. The cool downs in HIIT can include various activities such as stretching and yoga poses.
What Are the Benefits of a Cool Down?
1. It allows the heart rate to return to normal.
When exercising, your heart rate increases to boost blood flow to your muscles and skin. As your heart rate returns to normal, the blood flow to the muscles decreases and your heart rate decreases.
2. It aids in the recovery of the muscles to allow you to recover from your training session.
When you have worked out, your muscles have been through a lot. They have been working hard for you and need some time to recover. Cool down exercises enhance your energy during training by promoting blood flow to the muscles.
3. It prevents injuries.
Cool down exercises help to prevent injuries. They help the body to return to a state of relaxation physiologically. If you stop exercising without a cool down, the muscles remain tense, and your joints remain stiff. That is a recipe for injury.
4. It allows you to stretch.
Stretching is a vital part of your workout routine. It keeps your muscles loose and allows them to be stretched.
5. It prepares you for your next workout
You can ensure a well-rounded workout by providing a cool down after a workout. You promote flexibility and provide recovery for muscles that need it. You also promote increased circulation.
6. It helps you relax
The primary purpose of a cool down is to relax the body and calm the mind. It allows the body to rest after the hard work of exercise. A cool down provides a positive feeling to take with you into your next workout.
7. It helps to decrease the development of lactic acid
Lactic acid builds up as a product of energy production. When your muscles work, they begin to produce lactic acid as a source of energy. This buildup of lactic acid can make your muscles feel sore and tired. Cool down exercises can decrease the development of lactic acid and thereby reduce muscle soreness.
A cool down period is not just an unnecessary part of your workout; it is vital to your training routine. Your body requires a period of healing and recovery as well as a period of relaxation. Cooldown exercises can help you achieve all of these things.
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