There are two types of people in the gym: those who love cooling down after a workout and those who think it’s an arduous chore that they will never, ever do.
If you happen to land in the latter category, give us an opportunity to change your mind. If you’ve ever wondered, “Why is a cool down important?” this is the article for you. Whether you’re doing cardiovascular exercise, strength training, or anything in between, cooling down should be a vital part of your workout routine.
We’ve scoured through all of our resources to convince you to give it a shot and maybe even work it into your wellness routine because it is important for you, and those muscles you’ve been working so hard to build. Read on to learn more!
What Is A Cool Down Exercise?
First things first, you may be wondering what a cool-down exercise even is? When we work out, we are putting out bodies through stress. Tiny tears form in our muscles and then heal over, making us stronger on our rest days. A whole other slew of interesting things happen as well, like dilating blood vessels on our skin to help us increase blood flow to the area—yeah, our bodies are so cool! Because of all of the hard work our body is doing, it is essential to cool down and tell our body, “Hey, we’re about done here.”
A cool-down workout lasts about 10 minutes after your exercise. You can use this time to continue your workout for the day at a low intensity—say, a run to a jog. Take part in some dynamic stretches. Or, go hop into a low-intensity group exercise class like Yoga. But, back to the cool stuff, the reasons why a cool-down exercise routine is important.
When we exercise, we pump more blood through our body than we do otherwise, causing our blood vessels to expand—this just happens when our muscles are working. When our muscles stop contracting against our blood vessels when we abruptly finish working out, this phenomenon known as “blood pooling” (also known as CVI, which stands for chronic venous insufficiency) occurs, which can lead to some discomfort in the legs.
When we stretch, it allows the blood to resume flowing normally and gives our veins the time they need to contract. The result? Little to no discomfort.
Heart Rate Regulation
Another reason why it is important to cool down after vigorous exercise is heart rate regulation. This is somewhat related to our last point. Working out gets our hearts pumping, our blood vessels dilated, and our core temperature rising.
When we push our bodies from one extreme to another, our bodies don’t always respond well. That’s why sometimes when we stop exercising abruptly and don’t give ourselves the time for our temperature to come down, heart rate to ease, and blood vessels to contract, we can feel dizzy and sick. When we take the time to engage in stretching exercises, we can keep our blood flowing as we ease our body back to its normal state.
When we have a wide range of motion, we’re more equipped to get through our daily lives with ease. Think about it this way: if you don’t stretch your hamstrings, how will you pick up a set of dropped keys or chase a baby across the floor or even tie your shoe without feeling some pushback from your legs and back?
Stretching is one of the few ways we can improve mobility, and using your cooldown to carve out time to do that can be very beneficial to your wellness journey.
It Feels Good!
One benefit of stretching that most studies point to is that it simply feels good. It provides a sense of relief and release, brings blood flow to our muscles, and makes us feel relaxed.
If cooling down after a workout does one thing, it provides an endorphin rush, and stretching is no exception. Just like a strenuous workout, cooling down may not always be fun in the moment, but it almost always boosts your mood afterward.
Now that you know why it is important to cool down after a workout, what are you waiting for?If you’re looking for a place to take your warmups, workouts, and cooldowns, check out our gym locations and classes (yoga makes for a great cooldown) today!
This post originally appeared on Chuze Fitness.