The benefits of a good workout cool down can’t be understated. That said, this practice is in desperate need of great PR. Awareness of the importance of cooling down properly is terribly low. The vast majority of people skip this step completely when they exercise.
While some people know it’s important to warm up before a workout, following the exercises with a workout cool down isn’t as well recognized. A great warm up’s benefits can be obvious. It will boost blood flow throughout the body, enhance flexibility, increase your focus and boost your performance overall. A cool down, on the other hand, doesn’t do anything for your performance, so many people don’t think it’s worthwhile.
Why Do a Workout Cool Down?
Even though your workout cool down won’t do a single thing for your performance that day, it will do wonders for your future exercises. The reason is that cooling down properly will enhance your recovery. It plays an integral role in your safety and your performance.
One of the most vital reasons to do a workout cooldown is to prevent a condition most people haven’t even heard of. It’s called hypotension and it is exceptionally common after exercising. People who experience post-exercise hypotension will go through a sudden drop in blood pressure. This leads to dizziness or even fainting.
When you exercise, your blood pressure rises. This is important for getting blood to your muscles, sending throughout your body and to your brain, to spread nutrients where they are needed and to remove waste. When you suddenly stop exercising and become idle, your muscles stop pumping the blood through the body as much because they don’t need the same amount of blood as they previously did.
Because of gravity, blood pools in the lower part of your body, typically your legs. This causes less blood to reach your brain, lowering blood pressure and leading to the dizziness or fainting.
How Does a Workout Cool Down Reduce Risk?
Instead of suddenly stopping your workout, ease out of it. Continue a slower version of it for five to ten minutes after you’re done your exercises. For instance, if you’ve been running, walk around for a while, until you’re just strolling. This helps to slow the blood circulation gradually as the blood vessels return to normal and the muscles ease out of performance mode.
Fortunately, a good workout cool down is easy to do and typically doesn’t take very long. It can even be combined with other activities in certain cases. If you’ve gone out for a run, walk for the last few minutes until you get home. Then, once you get home, keep walking to do certain little tasks. Wash your hands, pick up clutter and put out ingredients you’ll be using when you make your breakfast, for example. Finally, you can stop, get changed, and move on with your day!