Cooling Down after Exercise
You know the importance of warming up before a workout—it prepares your body for cardiovascular activity by raising your heart rate to increase blood flow to your muscles—but do you take the time to cool down after exercise? Here’s why cooling down is important, and how to add this to the end of your workout routine.
Why Cool Down after Exercise?
Immediately after being physically active, your heart is elevated, your body temperature is higher than usual, and your blood vessels are dilated. If you go from a full sprint to lying down on the ground, you could feel sick or even pass out. This is because venous pooling of blood in the lower extremities after an intense workout causes your blood pressure to drop too rapidly, leaving insufficient blood flow to the brain. The risk of fainting or dizziness is higher for serious athletes whose heart rates slow down faster and whose veins circulate more blood at once.
A cool-down allows for a gradual recovery of your pre-workout heart rate and blood pressure so your body can ease out of your exercise session. It also helps your muscles return to their optimal length-tension relationships as you transition back to a steady state of rest.
How to Cool Down after Exercise
Do your body a favor, and cool down after every workout with these tips:
- Continue your workout, but at a slower pace and with decreased intensity.
- Walk around for a few minutes, aiming to keep moving until your heart rate drops below 120 beats per minute.
- Once you aren’t breathing so heavily anymore, stretch every major muscle group in your body, giving extra attention to the muscles you just finished working out. This helps improve your flexibility and may make you less prone to injury during future workouts.
- As you stretch, hold each position for 10 to 30 seconds while taking deep breaths. As you start to loosen up, sink a little deeper into the stretch. This shouldn’t be painful, but you should feel tension in the muscles you’re stretching. Avoid bouncing to prevent injury.
Personal Training & Sports Medicine at Manhattan Total Health
While one of the primary goals of cooling down after exercise is to prevent injury, you may still experience a strain, sprain, or pulled muscle from working out. If you think you have a sports injury, don’t ignore it—you might make things worse by powering through the pain!
Instead, seek the care you need at Manhattan Total Health. We offer sports medicine services in New York to help you recover rapidly without pharmaceuticals or surgery. Our alternative approaches to whole-body healing will have you back on track as quickly as possible.
We also have personal trainers on staff to help make your workouts better. We’ll instruct you on proper exercise techniques to reduce instances of injury.
To learn more about our health and fitness services, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.