You’re coming up on the end of your workout, you feel good, you met your goals and now you’re thinking about a shower and some relax time. But, if your still sweating, if your heart rates still racing and your breathing is not yet normal then jumping right into a relax time is the least beneficial thing for you to do.
The most beneficial thing for a person to do in this situation is to adapt an cool-down routine. Sure, you may be tacking on a couple of minutes to your gym time, but the extra time is well worth it.
Jumping right out of a cardio or a high intensity lifting workout can cause the bodies’ muscles to start to cramp, needless pain can come about and dizziness due to the stress the body endures at a high intensity level.
Stretching and warming-up before a high intensity activity is just about part of everyone’s routine. You do it to prevent injury and you do it so your body transition to a high intensity state is more gentle and painless. Since that warm-up is so important, there’s no reason to believe that coming back down from a high intensity state to a normal state with a smooth transition isn’t just as important, in fact it could be more important.
Your body goes through a lot of strain when you’re working out. The muscle fibers, ligaments and tendons release toxins that build up inside the body from the intensity which causes the cramping, dizziness and needless pain. But with a correct exercise cool-down routine you can slowly loosen these toxins and as the body is working its way back to normal it has a much better chance of disposing of them properly.
Fact: there not bad toxins, essentially what happens when you workout a certain muscle group, more toxins such as lactic acids are sent to those muscles to help them perform, but when you’re done they need to be released again and distributed throughout the body evenly.
You can look at it like a caffeine rush, then a caffeine crash. If you drink three red bulls and burn all the energy it gives you in a matter of an hour, see how much energy you have after that hour without a pick me up. Working out is a lot like the same thing. If you let your body crash after it hits a peak it falls down even further pass a normal state of being, just like falling off a cliff opposed to rolling down a hill, it’s going to hurt worse.
The process of adapting an exercise cool down routine is very simple. Jogging and power walking as you slow down to a slow walk is a great way to cool down. Also you can grab weights or hit the machines and target other muscles that weren’t targeted in your primary workout, but only with the intent to cool down, slow your heart rate, smooth your breathing and even out your body chemistry; you’re not adopting another exercise, just some less intensive activity.
The other very important thing that needs to be added to your exercise cool down routine is simple stretching. Stretching all of the major muscles is recommended, but stretching the muscles you worked out is a necessity to get the blood and the toxins out of those muscles and flowing properly through your system.
Tip: Don’t forget to drink liquids and feed your body with nutrients during your exercise cool-down routine; re-fueling is a huge part of cooling down properly.