Are you a fitness freak? Do you work out regularly? Have you given a thought to cooling down post-workout? Read on to know why cooling down after exercise is important.

Cooling down after your workout facilitates a gradual recovery of your pre-exercise heart rate and blood pressure. The cool-down does not have to be as specific as the warm-up in stimulating activity, but it does need to occur to allow the body the physiological opportunity to return to a pre-exercise state. 

If you have performed a fast-paced workout, you need to complete it with 5 to 10 minutes of cool-down or slow movements such as stretching or low-intensity exercise.

How to Cool-Down?

Cooling down is similar to warming up. Here are some ways to cool down:

  • Brisk walk for 5 to 10 minutes after running.

  • Leisurely swim laps for 5 to 10 minutes after your swimming session.

  • Slow walking for 5 to 10 minutes after a brisk walk.

  • Slow down in increments of 30 seconds to one minute until you are at a complete stop following a cardio workout.

  • Cool-down naturally occurs within a strength training session, as a result of the intervals of work to recovery that are added into the workout.

What Are The Benefits of Cooling Down?

  • A cool-down helps blood to continue to flow and not pool in the extremities.

  • It prevents significant changes in blood pressure that occur when intense exercise is stopped too abruptly. 

  • A cool-down helps to remove metabolic waste from the muscles so that it can either be used by other tissues in other chemical processes in the body or expelled in the form of water (sweat) or carbon dioxide release (exhaling breath).

  • It lowers your heart rate slowly and gradually.

  • A cool-down gives you time to relax and look back at your achievements. This can promote a sense of relaxation and well-being and boost your motivation.

  • A cool-down allows your breath to slowly return to the same rhythm it had before you started your workout.

Tips For Better Results

  • Walk for about 5 minutes, or until your heart rate gets below 120 beats per minute.

  • Deep sustained stretching to improve flexibility should follow strength training and cardio workouts because warm muscle tissue accepts stretch stimuli much easier than cold tissue does. 

  • Hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. If you feel you need more, stretch the other side and return for another set of stretching. The stretch should be strong, but not painful.

  • Do not bounce.

  • Breathe while you are stretching. Exhale as you stretch, inhale while holding the stretch.

  • Flexibility is characterized by the ability to move joints through their normal, full ROM (range of motion). Adequate flexibility prevents injury and maintains correct posture and body alignment. 

No matter what, do not skip the cool-down because returning to your pre-state is important for recovery. An indicator that your cool-down segment was not long enough or adequate to achieve recovery is continued sweating. 

Cooling down will give your body the time to recover from the stress, regulate your bodily systems, and help to ease you back into the normal pace of your daily life.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.