Congrats on another great workout at Franklin Athletic Club. Before you hit the showers, take the time to cool down. Just like the warm-up, cooling down can have a big impact on your overall wellness and staying safe on your fitness journey. Cool downs matter. Franklin Athletic Club gives you the low-down on the cool-down, why and how to do it, and a couple of great cool down options.
Why Cool Down?
When you work out, whether cardio or lifting weights, your heart rate increases. It’s best not to just come to an abrupt stop without taking your body and heart back down closer to the resting rate at which you were before you began the workout. Just like the warm-up 101, here are three great reasons to cool down.
- Decrease your heart rate. One of the most common post-workout accidents stems from not cooling down. If you transition from a full-on workout to stopping, your heart rate is still elevated. Due to the abrupt nature, blood can pool in the lower extremities and have a hard time returning to the upper body (such as the head). When this happens, you may feel lightheaded, dizzy and or even be more likely to faint.
- Reduce DOMS. If you’ve lifted weights, run a long distance or pushed yourself with sprints, there’s a decent chance of being sore the next day or the day after. This is referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, a direct result of lactic acid buildup in the muscles. It’s not necessarily bad to be a little sore. You might even love that feeling because it means you did something hard or pushed a little further. But sometimes DOMS can be severe, limiting range of motion, the ability or desire to work out again, or impact normal daily activities. Taking the time to cool down can flush some of the lactic acid out, reducing the severity of DOMS.
- Mentally decompress. Just like the warm-up, your mind needs the opportunity to process the workout and decompress before transitioning to the next activity or task. Enjoy the mental and emotional benefit from the release of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.
Do yourself a favor…cool down.
Tips to Cool Down
There are a few ways to cool down, and for many, that includes incorporating stretching. A cool down should be at least 5-10 minutes, giving your heart, muscles and mind time to recover.
- If you’ve done a cardio workout such as a brisk walk or a run, cool down by gradually slowing the pace of your walk to a relaxing stroll.
- Just finished spin class? Stay on the bike a few extra minutes and flush the lactic acid while slowing your heart rate with reduced speed and lower resistance.
- Add stretching after your heart rate is down, especially if you’ve lifted weights. Focus on gentle stretching of the muscles targeted in your regimen for the day.
- Finish off with a savasana, a yoga position also known as corpse pose. Lay down, let your legs fall open, palms up and relaxed, slow your breathing, relax your mind and let your whole body (including face) go heavy. Many people find the art of stillness and relaxation difficult. But with continued practice, a 10-15 minute savasana to end your workout can leave you feeling strong, relaxed and ready to take on whatever is next.
FAC Trainers are Here to Help With Cool Downs and More
Still have questions about cool downs? We’ve got you covered. Set up an appointment with a personal trainer. You’ll learn the right way to cool down after you exercise to get the most out of your workout. Contact Franklin Athletic Club at 615-599-5544 for more information on your road to wellness.