Why You Should Cool Down After Doing Cardio

When cardio is done and the shower or couch is calling, sometimes the thought of spending any extra time to cool down ranks right up there with organizing the junk drawer. Is it really that important to cool down after cardio?

Pass On Passing Out

The purpose of the cool down is to redirect the blood flow and drop the body temperature back to normal before rushing off to meet the challenges of the day.  It also settles down the heart beat quicker than without a cool down to feel better faster. 

During cardio the blood is pumping vigorously through the muscles as they contract, and more blood ends up going to the extremities. When the heart is pumping fast, and there is a sudden stop, there’s a chance that the blood will start to pool in the legs and feet. Can we say head rush! This can lead to a drop in blood pressure, which may cause dizziness, nausea, and even fainting.

Cooling down allows the muscles to contract at a steady pace, which keeps the blood flowing back up to the heart instead of hanging out in the extremities, alleviating the chance of passing out in front of that hottie on the next machine over.  

Time To Chill

Cooling down is the easiest part of a cardio workout, so enjoy it. Ease out of the workout just like easing into it during a warm-up —taking it slow for five to ten minutes (or when breathing and heart rate return to normal), depending on the intensity of the activity.  Not only will cooling down get the body back to feelin groovy, but it punctuates a good workout kind of like a victory (slow) dance.

Mayo – Target Heart Rate Calculator Knowledge is power. Know your number.

Sweet Dreams – COOLDOWN Routine Try these sweet moves for a quick cool down.

Exercise Expectations

What You Can Expect From Exercise

The Shrot Term Benefit (right after you finish): Exercise works on the part of the brain that determines what kind of mood you’re in. No matter how rotten you feel when you start out, a good run, swim, bike ride, or walk can change that mood. If you’re already feeling good, you’ll even feel better.

The Long Term Benefit: After a few weeks your body will be firmer and more flexible. Your pulse will be slower when you’re not working out; a sign that your heart is working at a healthier pace. You’ll look better and the difference will start to show in your shape and how you carry yourself.
 What You Can’t Expect From Exercise

You can’t expect to look like a super model that  you see in a magazine, television or advertisement. If you went to take voice lessons, you might expect your voice to improve, but you wouldn’t expect to sound like Madonna. The same goes for your shape. You’ll end up with your body –  in shape,  not with the shape of someone else.
A Work Out That Works
The word exercise covers a lot of different activities, from walking to weight lifting. The best exercise is any kind that keeps your whole body moving for at least 20 minutes, makes you breathe harder than usual, makes you sweat, and gets your heart beating faster. 

A good exercise routine involves these four things:
Warming up
Cooling down

Warming up
Before you begin working out at full force, start slowly by using the same motions you’ll be using when you’re exercising . By starting out easy, your giving your blood time to make its way to your muscles. The blood is fuel for those muscles, and if you don’t give it a chance to get to them, they might poop out on you. 
This is when you work your body so much that you feel a difference in your pulse rate and in the way you are breathing. During conditioning, you’re working out the most important muscle of all — your heart. Exercise that increases your pulse rate (makes your heart beat faster) is the kind that has all of the benefits like controlling your appetite and making you feel terrific. People who don’t exercise end up storing much more of what they eat as fat, than people who work out often. The reason for this is that muscles which are in good shape from conditioning use of a lot of energy, and fat uses hardly any energy at all. (Read: you burn more calories)
Cooling down
Don’t bring yourself to a sudden stop when you’ve finished your work out. Your body isn’t prepared to quit as quickly as you might be, and a sudden stop could cause cramps, dizziness, or even fainting. Slow to a stop by lightly doing whatever activity you’ve been doing, just at a slower pace.

This softens and relaxes your muscles, allowing them to handle the extra stress you have put on them during your work out. Well-stretched joints are less likely to strain, or sprain. Even if you only have time for a quick stretch, doing it after your workout is key.
Make the most of your routine by including all four steps, and embrace your inner supermodel.

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