Somedays it’s hard to resist the urge to skip a cooldown after a knockout workout.
Maybe it’s been a long day, and you just want to get home. Do you workout in the early morning and skip the cool down to do one more set? Whatever the reason, skipping the cooldown after a grueling workout may seem like no big deal, but there are multiple reasons to include cooling down after every workout.
When you plan for it—you’re more likely to do it.
Taking 5-10 minutes to bring your heart rate back down immediately after a workout is common sense, but for most people cooling down is an afterthought.
Cooling down gives your body a few minutes to transition back to your pre-workout state. Cooldowns not only help reset your normal body functions, but it also helps your muscles and your mind relax.
Whether you ran a marathon or spent the last hour boxing, taking a few minutes to walk around will help your body reduce your heart rate, breathing rate, and your body temperature. Walking redistributes blood and keeps it from pooling in your extremities, which can cause fainting when you stop working out abruptly. Keeping your activity level at a low intensity gives each of these systems time to recover and reset. Plus, giving your body time to reset itself will make post-workout stretching less sweaty and breathless—maybe, even enjoyable.
Most people sweat profusely during a long work-out. During exercise, people can lose 6 to 24 ounces of water per hour depending on the type of workout. Rehydrating will help your body recover faster, and you’ll feel better.
Signs of dehydration include:
- Muscle cramps
- Dry mouth
- Rapid heartbeat
- Feeling light-headed
At any of these signs, it’s important to hydrate again quickly and seek medical attention.
Many avid runners or professional athletes will tell you they never skip a massage after a game or race. While many of us do not have the money or the time to hire a massage therapist after a hard workout, we can take a moment or two to give ourselves a massage in those areas that can be troublesome. For example, runners may have some overuse soreness that can occur in the calf area. Self-massaging these areas right after a workout can help aid in a quicker recovery. Thinking of self-massage as part of your cooldown. It will help ensure you don’t forget to add it to your workout routine.