Your workout ends – what’s the first thing you do?
a) Grab some water.
c) Immediately move on to the next part of your day.
d) None of the above.
Grabbing some water as you walk off a challenging workout is a great way to start the cool down process. And taking five to ten minutes to cool down right after you finish a workout is an essential component of your workout.
Here are a few reasons why the cool down is so important that you can’t skip it:
1. A cool down brings your heart rate and breathing rate back to rest.
No matter how much you want to sit down (or lie down) at the end of a tough workout, try your best to stay upright. Walking around and staying in motion gives your body a chance to return to a “normal” resting state. And it makes it less likely that you’ll get dizzy or possibly faint. Your heart rate will gradually come down, and your breathing rate will slow down, as well.
2. Post-workout is the optimal time to stretch.
The best time to stretch and do some work to improve your flexibility is after completing a workout. During a post-workout cool down period, your muscles are warm, and your connective tissue is pliable. Now is your window of opportunity to take five to ten minutes to stretch and relax.
3. It kicks off the recovery and rebuilding process.
The cool down sets you up for quality recovery and rebuilding after a workout. Coming back to a resting state by staying in motion (ex. walking) flushes out waste as your body returns to a resting state. This low-intensity post-workout movement, along with taking a few minutes of stretching, can lessen the potential for muscle soreness and possible injuries down the road.
At the YMCA of Greater Whittier, our health and fitness programs are designed to help you move better, feel better, and live better. To learn more about the programs we’re currently offering, contact us today.