Recently we looked at warming up and why it’s a vital part of every exercise program. Now it’s time to flip the scenario on its head and ask about cooling down – the set of stretches and light cardio you can do to finish a session off properly.
Why should you seriously consider cooling off and what are some of the ways in which you can step off the activity?
Get your heart rate down – when you have completed a tough session of cardio or have been throwing the weights round down the gym, you’re likely to feel your heart beating out of your chest. Well you are if you do it right anyway.
This can leave you feeling light headed and a little bit faint. Gentle exercise allows you to slow your heart rate at a healthy rate whilst simply dropping out the game and sitting down with a coke can leave you feeling dizzy and light headed.
This is because blood can pool in the extremities of the body following rigorous or heavy exercise. It can become dangerous for serious athletes who are pushing themselves to the limit.
Mindset and motivation – believe it or not exercise is about mental stimulation and rewards. Having that little stretch of time at the end of a session allows you to settle down and look over your achievements.
Regularly doing this in a gym environment allows you to develop good feelings about exercise and chat with your buddies to boost support without having to compromise on your work rate.
Stretches and soreness – your muscles need time to warm up and get the blood flowing to the important fibres, otherwise you risk injury. However not giving your body time to cool down and expel the lactic acid that causes cramp and muscle damage can make your tendons and ligaments more prone to damage – is a theory that has now been disproven.
Stretching after exercise is about giving your body the flexibility to cope with future exercise sessions and keeping the body supple. All too often we can throw ourselves into serious weights or cardio and don’t think about flexibility. It’s actually our flexibility that gives us the strength to do other exercises.
It only takes a little time to wind down and ensure that your muscles have a short burst of cardio and a few yoga mat stretches to loosen your body up and ensure that you’re getting full protection for your heaviest sessions.
How to cool down – cooling down is simple. All you have to do is continue cardio at a much slower pace than your main sessions. Many machines actually have a cool down mode that allow you to step off machine after 2-5 minutes. Additionally most gym instructors will be happy to help you out with a series of cool down stretches to help you get some flex back into your life.
If you would like a complete system of exercise then why not get in touch with the guys down at EMS fitness. We will be happy to furnish you with a full series of exercises and even nutritional advice that can help everyone from the novice through to the established expert. Pick up the phone or drop us an email and we can talk schedules with you.