Most people understand the importance of warming up and doing active stretching to avoid injury. However, it’s also important to do cool down exercises. Most people are ready to drop when their exercise session is over, so cool down is often overlooked. Omitting it might get you out of the gym quicker, but it comes with a higher price than most people think. Don’t neglect this important part of your workout.
What is DOMS and how does it relate to cooling down?
DOMS stands for delayed onset muscle soreness. It can occur as sudden pain in the muscles and often hits the back of runners legs, causing abnormal contraction in the muscle. Those cramps are caused by microtears in the muscles. You’d normally expect some soreness, but this is significant pain and occurs within 24 to 48 hours of exercise. One study from California State University showed that using a cool down cycling session after doing strength training, reduced the potential for DOMS significantly. Stretching after exerting your muscles help the muscles to relax and prevents the problem.
Blood pooling in the arms and legs can occur if you don’t cool down.
A tough workout increases your heart rate and the more you move, the more blood pumps through the body. If you suddenly stop, it can cause the blood to poll in your extremities by making the return back to the heart slower. That can cause lightheadedness, even fainting sometimes. Normally, it’s not really dangerous unless it’s masking a serious medical condition, but it is extremely scary.
You already know that warming up can prevent injuries, but so can cooling down.
After a tough workout, you may feel like you have jelly legs. That’s because all your muscles are extremely warm and loose. Stretching at that time can help lengthen the muscles and improve your range of motion. That means it also can reduce the risk of injury. It can even help parts of the body you might not suspect. For instance, tight hamstrings or hip flexors can cause back pain. Get more flexible by cooling down.
- Walking, static stretching and swimming are examples of good cool down exercises. Don’t do ballistic or dynamic stretching. Save those to warm up your body and get it ready for exercise.
- When you workout, lactic acid can build up in your muscles. If you take just ten minutes to stretch and cool down, you can clear the muscles of this waste byproduct that can cause muscle pain, burning and nausea.
- Cooling down gets your heart rate back to normal slowly. In fact, you can tell that you’ve done enough if your heart rate has returned to normal for a few minutes.
- Cooling down exercises do exactly as the name implies. Not only does it allow the heart to return to a normal rate and the breathing rate to be lowered, it also aids in lowering the body temperature and boosts the effects of endorphins, the feel good hormones.
For more information, contact us today at Body Sculptors Personal Training