Here's Why You Need to Cool Down After Your Workout
I remember it like it was yesterday, I finished a 200m race and fell to my booty. I needed to sit down right away, but boy was I wrong. My whole body felt like it was tightening up and I couldn’t move. I was in more pain after the race than while I was actually running— it felt like it was shutting down.
Think of it like this: you eat a really big breakfast burrito, super full right? And then you have to run the fastest mile you can. Like, right away. I want to throw up now just thinking about that right now. Basically, you never want to go from one extreme to another. Which is why I am going to talk to you about how beneficial it is for your body to cool down after a workout. Remember when I told you about how important it was to warm-up before you exercise? It’s exactly how I feel about the cool down as well.
So why should you cool down after each workout?
Well first of all, cooling down will prevent dizziness by reduced heart rate and breathing rates. And you may think to yourself, well sometimes I do get a little light headed right after a workout. That can stem from several things, including lack of water, food, or sleep but also can be your bodies way of telling you that you need to slow down!
Cooling down will gradually cool down your body temperature. Easy right? Well, think about how your body feels right after an intense workout. Your face is red, you may be sweating (or sweating puddles like myself), and your whole body is really hot. So before you rush out of class in the cold weather, or put some AC on your face right away, cool down your body in a slow manner with some of the movements in my videos.
A cool down will properly return muscles to their optimal length-tension relationships. My optimal time to stretch is when I’m already warm, typically after a tough workout or during a heated yoga class. It can improve flexibility over time, and flexibility goes hand in hand with increasing range of motion, preventing injury, improved circulation, and better posture! Stretching shouldn’t ever be painful, but you should feel tension in the muscle while it is being stretched. How long should you how a stretch? It depends on the stretch and how much time you have but I say at least 20 to 30 seconds at a time.
So how should you cool down your body?
Every body is different, but I follow a couple different cool downs depending on the type of exercise I am doing. Some may just be able to walk on treadmill for 5-10 minutes after a tough workout, but I like to add in some stretching and mobility. The major goal is to slowly bring your heart rate back down to a resting level. My cool downs typically last about 5-10 minutes depending how much time I have, but I will always allot time so that I don’t just rush out of there!
I have linked a couple of my favorite cool downs above, based on what my workout will be that day. Do you have any any exercises you love to do for your cool down? Share them with me below!