Hi again. Today we will cover the other end of the workout – Cool Downs. Cool downs are just as important as Warm-ups. I am sure you have often seen the occasional jogger/runner finishing their main run on a treadmill, only to turn it off and step down to head to some other gym equipment. This is potentially dangerous for the heart and in strength training routines, even to the muscles.
Any activity by which you gradually bring down your heart rate, rate of respiration, blood circulation and body temperature qualifies as a cool down activity. If your main workout comprised of running, then jogging, brisk walking and eventually coming to a halt will qualify as your cool down. Similarly, if you were working with weights, then stretching afterwards will constitute your cool down and help reduce chances of muscle soreness the following day. In other words, your cool down should preferably imitate your main workout in movements only, not in pace, intensity or complexity.
Cool down will also help gradual deceleration of your overall metabolism that elevates during any intense or fast-paced activity. In addition, blood pressure levels drop abruptly when any intense activity is suddenly halted. This may result in a feeling of light-headedness or may even lead to fainting or stroke. In case of strength training workouts, cool down prevents sudden pooling of blood at the ends of our limbs and circulates them back to the heart, brain and muscle tissues. The cool down also helps channel out waste material like lactic acid etc from our muscles and tissues.
A 10-15 minute cool down results in the heart rate, circulation, body temperature and breathing to normalise. However, the rate of metabolism though reduced gradually during cool down, still will record elevated (than normal rest phase) readings for the remainder of the day. Until next week, take care and train safe.