A cool down after a great exercise is a pivotal part of your workout. A lot of people are guilty of not giving a couple of minutes to this important step, but it is actually just as important as the rest of your workout. A cool down is conducted on the last part of your workout routine. It can go from as short as just 3 minutes to 10 minutes, depends on you. A cool down typically consists of stretches and gentle variations of the actual exercises that you did during your workout. There are also cooldowns that require a partner or only require you to walk slowly.
What exactly is the purpose of a cool down? Why is it important? Well, the purpose of cooling down after an exercise is to allow your heart rate and breathing to go back to normal. When you exercise, your heart rate goes up, it works a little extra to pump blood to the whole body. Your breathing is also affected when you exercise. You tend to breathe more heavily when you exercise. What also happens when you do strenuous exercises is that the blood vessels in your legs expand. This brings more blood to your legs and feet. When you stop working out your heart rate slows abruptly, this can easily cause your blood to pool in your lower body. When this happens you will feel dizzy and lightheaded that can even cause fainting. Cooling down after a workout is crucial so that your heart rate and breathing comes back to normal at a pace.
If you think that athletes are the ones that do not need a good cool down, then you are wrong. Serious athletes are actually at greater risk if they do not cool down after a strenuous workout. This is because serious athletes usually give it their all when it comes to sports, workouts, and activities. Their heart rates also slow down faster and their blood vessels can also hold more blood compared to normal people. They have to do a cool down in order for their heart to slow down and breathing at an appropriate pace.
Normal people, on the other hand, such as casual exercisers have a lower risk of dizziness and fainting if they do not cool down after a workout. Very light activities such as walking or minimal stretches can be considered cool down for them. As little as walking from the weights station to the locker room can already prevent them from getting dizzy.