We’re all pressed for time. But we’ve all also heard that it’s important to cool down after your workout. Are post workout cool downs worth it?
A recent article in Men’s Heath talks about this, and the opinion of John Hallwill, Ph.D. He’s the director of the exercise physiology lab at the University of Oregon. According to Dr. Hallwill, “It depends on how hard your workout was.”
Here’s a simple rule. When you finish your workout, if you can’t carry on a conversation easily, then you should cool down after your workout.
Here’s why you should do post workout cool downs. Your heart, during a heavy workout, pumps quite a bit of extra blood to your extremities. As your heart rate rises, and that extra blood is getting pumped to your muscles, your muscles actually push blood back to your heart as you workout. A sudden stop turns off that effect, which is why you might feel nauseous and light headed if you stop suddenly.
But, if you ramp down your workout with a cool down period, then your heart has a chance to slow down, pumping less blood to your muscles, as your muscles slowly decrease that reverse “pump” back to your heart. And, there’s an added benefit that this helps your muscles flush out waste by prodcuts like lactate while getting more nutrients back into your muscles for them to rebuild later. And, that can help with muscle building.
The Best Way To Cool Down After Your Workout
Do five to 10 minutes of movements that use the same muscle groups, but at a lighter intensity, such as walking the last few minutes of your run.