Apr 16, 2021
3 Reasons You Should Always Cool Down After Exercising
Imagine driving down the highway at 65 mph and suddenly turning off the engine. Not only would this probably cause a car accident, it would also damage your car. Instead, by gradually accelerating or gently braking, you take good care of the vehicle’s motor and transmission. This example applies perfectly to your body, too. Taking the time to cool down after exercise protects your heart.
Why Does Your Body Need To Cool Down?
There are three main advantages to giving yourself a few minutes to cool down. First, it’s good for your heart. Second, it helps your muscles. Third, cooling down provides emotional benefits.
1. Heart Rate
Any time you play sports or exercise, your heart rate automatically goes up. Someone age 40 may have a resting heart rate of 40–60 beats per minute. During moderate exercise, this number shoots up to 90–153 bpm. Cooling down gives your heart time to slow to a normal rate before you move on to other activities.
2. Joint and Muscle Health
A great way to cool down is to stretch. When you stretch right after working out, it increases your flexibility and prevents injuries to joints, tendons and muscles. Some health experts believe that cooling down like this may also reduce soreness after vigorous activities.
Have you ever heard people talking about a “good hurt?” When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, special brain chemicals that create a sensation of happiness and joy. You feel amazing even though you’re also tired. Take a few minutes to enjoy this incredible mood boost before going back to your normal routine.
These advantages are even more important if your doctor has told you to keep your blood pressure down. Cooling down after any exercise is the best way to do things.
What Happens If You Don’t Cool Down?
One thing you may notice if you’re not cooling down is dizziness. Have you ever felt sick to your stomach after exercise? That’s exactly what happens when you forget to cool down.
As you exercise, your blood vessels expand, sending lots of blood to your hands and feet. When you stop your workout while your heart is still going a million miles an hour, your brain doesn’t get enough blood. If you’re not careful, you can pass out.
Some people also complain about muscle cramps when they don’t take the time to cool down gradually. The good news is that it only takes about 5–10 minutes to bring your heart rate back into a normal range.
How Can You Cool Down?
Cooling down isn’t difficult. Most of the time, it just means slowing down your exercise gradually. For example, if you’re jogging, you can switch to a brisk walk at the end of your session. When you’re exercising at the gym, take five minutes on the treadmill to gradually calm your heart rate.
What if you need a low-impact way to cool down, such as after swimming? Choose a few favorite stretches. Hold each stretch for 15–20 seconds. As you stretch, take slow, deep breaths. Every time you exhale, imagine your heart slowing down gently.
The next time you exercise, remember to take some time to cool down. Your heart, body and mind will thank you for it.
Category: weight loss