One of the first lessons you learn when embarking on your fitness journey is the importance of a warm up. But, often overlooked, is the equal importance of the cool down. Let’s take a look at the what, why, and how of a proper cool down to help you stay injury free!
What is a Cool Down?
The goal of a cool down is to lower the heart rate, body temperature, and breathing rate to pre-exercise levels. A cool down begins with reducing the intensity of your activity (i.e. walking at the end of your jog) which gives the blood a chance to re-circulate throughout your body thus reducing your risk of fainting and dizziness.
A cool down typically concludes with stretches that target muscles that have been overworked during your workout.
Why Cool Down?
Cooling down has several benefits including:
-> Brings your heart rate and breathing back to normal
-> Prevents fainting or dizziness
-> Prepares your muscles for the next exercise session
-> Removes waste products (such as lactic acid), which can build up during vigorous activity
-> Reduces the immediate post-exercise tendency for muscle spasm or cramping
-> Reduces muscle soreness and stiffness