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How Important is a Post-Workout Cool Down?

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Every workout should include a cool down portion. This is especially important if you are engaging in strenuous forms of exercise that increase your heart rate and place heavy strain on your muscles.

Cool Down to Gradually Reduce Heart Rate

A proper cool down is important for keeping you healthy. You don't want to come to a sudden stop after running a marathon, cycling uphill or doing any other activity that has your heart pumping blood at high speeds. Skipping a cool down in these situations can sometimes lead to sudden dizziness. When you cool down properly, you help to resume normal breathing.

Cool Down to Reduce Muscle Soreness

A cool down will also help to reduce muscle soreness after a workout. You do not want lactic acid and toxins to lodge themselves in the muscles. When you stop abruptly after a strenuous workout, the likelihood of this occurrence is greater. A cool down portion will help to gradually push the lactic acid and other unwanted substances out of the muscles. This often helps to reduce soreness after your workout.

Cool Down and Blood Circulation

In general, the cool down portion of your workout will allow for the blood to circulate throughout your body. This is important for carrying important nutrients and oxygen to your muscles and cells, and assists in the growth and repair of muscles.

Designing Your Cool Down

When designing the cool down portion of your workout, make sure that your level of activity is much less strenuous than the core of your workout. If you jog, for example, walk quickly during your cool down. If cycling uphill, cool down by biking on flat land. You want to avoid abrupt changes in pace and to gradually bring your body back to a pre-workout state.

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