Everyone knows that a warm-up helps you jump-start your metabolism, increases your heart rate, and reduces risk of injury through stretching exercises that work the joints and muscles.
While your trainer will keep an eye on you when you’ve just come in, the end of your workout doesn’t get quite as much attention. Case in point, your cool down session looks something like this: lies on the floor for a bit, does a stretch, looks left, right; no one’s watching? Bails!
Well, consider your cool down session an integral part of your workout, without which your routine is like a three-course meal minus the dessert at the end. Doesn’t quite sit well, right?
Here’s what you’re missing out on:
During an intense workout, the blood in your vessels is pumping, particularly in the lower body. For example, when you are running, the vessels in your leg expand, and when you stop without a cool down, there is a pool of blood in the lower half of your body. The feeling of light-headednesss? That’s where it comes from.
Improves Blood Circulation
When your exercising your circulation is at its highest, supplying nutrients and essentials to different parts of the body. A cool down helps elongate the process and feeds your body for longer.
Revs Up Metabolism
A workout increases your heart rate and your body temperature—both important components to burn calories. The harder you train, the more active your metabolic rate. Consider the cool down session a way of keeping your body engaged well after you’re done with your routine. This will help you keep your metabolic rate up even once you’ve left the gym.
The Optimal Cool Down Session
Walking and stretching for 5-10 minutes after a workout is ideal to gradually bring down the heart rate and bring your breathing back to normal. Stretching gives you full range of motion, increases flexibility and releases tension. You could also consider some breathing exercises to build your stamina.
With barely any of the hard work and very little effort, if you can capitalize on so many benefits, it feels silly to skip the cool down session now, doesn’t it?