Why is it important to cool down after exercising?
Warming up and cooling down is just as important as performing exercises, if not even more. The main reason for that is the fact that just as the muscles need to warm up before beginning so that they would be prepared for strenuous activity, it is equally important to cool down in order to relax them and promote their recovery. This means that after numerous stressful process during exercising the body needs to return to the level before workout. As a result, the soreness that people tend to experience a day after a workout will be significantly reduced if cool down is performed properly.
Aside from this, it is not recommended to stop with physical activity all of a sudden, because the heart rate and breathing should be allowed to lower to a more comfortable level gradually. During exercising, the muscles are working so the heart needs to pump a lot more blood in order to provide them with the necessary oxygen and nutrients. The heart receives de-oxygenated blood from the muscles, but when exercising stops, the a part of de-oxygenated blood remains in the muscles, containing waste products as well. This is the reason why swelling and pain are felt, and in order to avoid this, the cool down should be present because it actually keeps the blood circulating. The best indicator is talking, because it is important to be able to talk with ease.
Proper cool down should consist of gentle exercise, stretching and re-fuel, and even though some might find certain part unnecessary, the truth is that none of them should be avoided, because their combination is what the body benefits from.
Cool down exercises
There is a difference between cool down for professionals and for amateurs, and this difference also refers to the length of the cool down. While in the first case it lasts for 10 to 15 minutes, in the second case 5 minutes should be enough. The cool down needs to be similar to the type of workout that will follow, which means that easy jogging or walking is suitable for those whose workout includes a lot of running. Deep breathing helps in better oxygenation of the body, which is why it should be included as well, while stretching should follow then. Each stretch should be held for some 30 seconds. There are various exercises for stretching various parts of the body, and those body parts that were involved the most in the workout should be stretched the most.