We know how important it is to get a workout in. But fitting a workout into our busy lives can be difficult enough. Can we really spare those extra few minutes to cool down after we’re done?
Well, research shows that a cool down is a very important part of the workout. Therefore, we must really try to get a one in before moving on to other things.
This article will review why a cool down is so important and some great methods you can use.
WHY IS A COOL DOWN SO IMPORTANT?
After a workout, the cool down period allows your body to recover to its pre-exercise heart rate and blood pressure levels.
It helps regulate blood flow making it one of the most important steps a competitive athlete can take. It can also help in the prevention of injuries.
Although there is no evidence that cooling down can prevent muscle stiffness and soreness, more research is needed to determine whether or not this is the case.
COOL DOWN METHODS
Cool downs are similar to warm ups that occur before a workout. Generally, they involve continuing your workout session for five minutes or so at a slower pace and reduced intensity.
Here are some examples of cool down routines:
- Walk slowly for five or ten minutes after a brisk walk.
- Walk briskly for five or ten minutes after a run.
- Cool down after swimming by doing some leisurely laps for five to ten minutes.
In general, any type of light physical activity accompanied by some stretching will make for an effective cool down. In addition, you will get the most out of stretching when your body is warmed up from exercise.
Stretching will improve your flexibility and range of motion which, in turn, boosts athletic performance.
MAKE YOUR COOL DOWN EVEN MORE EFFECTIVE
There are some things you can do after your initial cool down to help your body return to its pre-exercise state even more effectively. Here are some options.
#1. TAKE A HOT-COLD SHOWER
After you are done with your workout, it’s a good idea to hit the showers. Alternate between hot and cold temperatures to reduce heart rate and blood lactate levels.
#2. APPLY A SKIN COOLING LOTION
Hydrating your skin with a lotion that has cooling properties like menthol will work to bring your body’s heart rate down.
#3. DRINK PEPPERMINT TEA
Did you know that drinking hot beverages in hot climates actually helps to cool us off? This is because the hot drink stimulates the sweat response that cools our bodies down.
Therefore, any type of hot tea or coffee will work to speed up the cool down process.
However, this process won’t be as effective in humid climates because the sweat will not evaporate to produce the cooling effect. In these climates, it is best to drink something cool after a workout.
Iced peppermint tea should do the trick since it contains menthol which works as a cooling compound.
Cooling down before a workout can also make your post workout cool down more effective. It decreases the amount your body temperature goes up during the workout making it easier to achieve the desired state after your workout.
Research shows cooling down before the workout can also improve performance.
For a great pre-workout cool down, try hydrating at least two hours before the workout by drinking cold drinks. Hanging out in an air-conditioned room will also make your body better able to maintain its temperature.
Now that you know some great cool down methods, you can be sure you are doing all you can to control your body’s temperature and blood pressure fluctuations. Which of these is your favorite method for keeping cool?