A ritual often overlooked in allure of a quick drink at the bar with friends, a good cool down session is something that can make or break a workout programmer just like a good warm-up. Remember running a half marathon with little preparation and finding it difficult to walk down steps the next day?
While the main purpose of warming up is to prepare the body and mind for strenuous activity, cooling down is all about helping the body and sore muscles recover and bounce back to normal.
- To suddenly stop exercising after a workout and not cool down can lead to a drop in blood pressure, which can place stress upon the heart, cause dizziness and possible fainting.
- A cool-down pushes heart rate and body temperature down, relaxes the mind, muscles and physiological systems of the body.
- After a cardio-session, it helps in preventing blood pooling and soreness in muscles.
If done after strength training, it helps in flushing out lactic acid which can otherwise cause muscle pain and swelling.
A good cool-down broadly involves finishing the workout routine with pulse-lowering, a gentle-jog, decreasing the speed down to a walk followed by light static stretching and refueling the system with fluids and food! When your workout ends, just dial down the intensity of what you’re doing every minute or two, whether it’s running, indoor cycling, or zumba.
ABC of a cool-down-
Rehydrate- first and foremost is rehydration. Exercise dehydrates your muscles and skin even in air-conditioned environment. Slipping some water/sports drink while performing cool down will get some fluid back into the system quickly.
Post-stretching- 3 to 5 mints of easy exercise .be sure that the easy exercise resembles one that was done during your workout. For example, if your workout involved a lot of running, cool down with easy jogging or walking. Gentle stretches such as shoulder rolls and hip rolls are also perfect post workout.
Breathing- includes some deep breathing as part of your easy exercise to help oxygenate your system.
Re-fuel- extending a cool down to a post workout meal is important as people think they should not eat after a workout to enhance fat-burning. It’s a total “no no “starve your body after a workout. Grab your post workout snack ASAP you finish cool down. Have a good combination of protein and carbohydrates and cold water to feed your muscles in order to burn fat 24×7, not just while working out.
Icy bath- cold water bath post workout further hastens recovery and rejuvenates your body and mind.