The Neglected Phase of Cooling-Down After Exercise


While working out, a lot of exercisers tend to skip one of the most important parts of the workout. Though exercisers usually perform warm-ups, a lot of them neglect the cool down phase dismissing it as unimportant and a waste of time. Health experts however believe that it is crucial that exercisers should start with a warm-up and end with a cool-down. Failure to do so may cause injuries and other health ailments.

Warming-up before an intense workout is crucial because it prepares the heart and the circulatory system. At the start of the workout or physical activity, blood flow may not be immediately available from the heart to the muscles. Irregular blood flow may hamper performance because of poor coronary circulation. Coronary circulation is the flow of blood in the blood vessels that supply blood to and from the heart itself. A good warm-up session may increase the blood flow to the muscles, boost body temperature, and speed up metabolism.

Cooling-down on the other hand is as important as the warming up because it promotes effective recovery from physical activity after an intense workout. During exercise, the body undergoes several stages of stress where the muscle fibers, tendons, and other ligaments are damaged, causing a build-up of waste products in the body. If performed properly, the cool-down process may aid the body in its healing process.

Cooling-down restores respiration, body temperature, and heart rate to their normal phase prevention irregular heart beat that can be life-threatening. Irregular heartbeats may alter the amount of blood that flows to the lungs and other important parts of the body. Such changes may increase the risk of forming blood clots and causing a stroke in the heart. Also in the cool-down stage, muscles in the legs acts as a pump to bring blood back to the heart. Stopping cardiovascular activity abruptly may cause blood to remain in the legs instead of being circulated back to the brain. Insufficient supply of blood in the brain may lead to dizziness or lost of consciousness. Proper cool down may also reduce the level of adrenaline in the blood and lessen the risk for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). DOMS is the pain or discomfort often felt for two to three days. Recent studies show that this ailment caused by small tears in the muscles caused by irregular training levels.

Your cool-down session should include the following:
five to ten minutes of jogging or walking. This decreases the body temperature and eliminate waste products from the worked muscles.
five to ten minutes of static stretching. This kind of stretching is used to stretch the muscles while at rest. It is composed of several techniques that slowly lengthen a certain muscle to the point of discomfort.

Fitness enthusiasts should never neglect the importance of cooling-down in their fitness programs. Proper execution of this work out routine is as important as the warm-up and the workout routine itself. Before starting a fitness program, individuals are encouraged to seek the advice of doctors and other health professionals. They may devise a fitness program and diet appropriate for the health needs of an individual.

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