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Cool Down: Why or Why Not

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the importance of warming up and how it was crucial before we jump into our workout. So today we are going to skip the workout and head straight into the cool down and why it’s important to do a cool down after. Some of you may think cool downs are a waste of time and it is extremely boring. I was on that boat myself not too long ago until I decided to give it a go and see what the difference was. So let’s go through a couple of important reasons why you should always cool down after a big workout.

  1. It can lead to a reduction of lactic acid build up. After a big workout, our muscles secrete a large amount of lactic acid. It is this lactic acid that causes our muscles to be sore. So to prevent muscle soreness it is best to reduce the amount of lactic acid continually building up. Research has shown that doing a warm down such as a slow paced walk or a gentle stretch is the most effective way or reducing lactic acid. So if you don’t like sore muscles the next day, do a warm down!
  2. A warm down prevents venous pooling of the blood in our extremities. This pooling of blood in the extremities may lead to dizziness and fainting. This is because when we are exercising our sympathetic nervous system comes into play. When we are in this state, our blood pressure and heart beat rises. When we stop moving, our body switches over to the parasympathetic state. In this state our blood pressure drops. Because of the sudden drop of blood pressure, the blood will have gathered into your extremity and not enough blood would’ve been pumped into your brain. Due to the lack of oxygen in the brain, it can cause dizziness and fainting.
  3. It’s a great time for reflection. After every sports game or workout, it is a good time to reflect on how well you did and what you can improve on. Of course, you always deserve a pat on the back as well after working out. Cooling down is a great way to calm your mind while still being engaged at your previous task.

Cooling down is just as important as warming up. It allows us to decrease the likelihood of muscle soreness, prevents dizziness and fainting and allows us a good time to reflect. There are also many great reasons why cooling down is a must after every workout! So remember to spend 5 minutes to either go for a small walk, a stretch or something with low impact after your next work out!