It's easy to grind to a halt after a tough session and channel your inner Peaches. However, cooling down is an essential part of any workout. Taking the time to do so restores the body and mind back to a pre-exercise state. Gradually tapering down to a lower intensity decreases heart rate and regulates body temperature. It also prevents blood pooling in the extremities, which is caused by an enlarged vein size to allow increased blood flow from the heart.
The type of exercise that you've been doing will dictate what type of cool down approach you should take. If you've been performing intense cardio, begin to progressively slow down your speed, as well as your range of movement, to a light jog or walk in order to gradually lower your heart rate back to normal. This will also help to avoid any nausea and dizziness. When resistance training, opt for a steady walk or cycle to cool down. Rather than decreasing from a higher to lower intensity, take the opportunity to move your muscles and joints through their full range of motion.
Cool downs are essential for preventing DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and stiffness after exercising. When combined with maintenance and developmental stretching, they can help to prevent injury and assist your body with clearing away lactic acid. A committed cool down routine can make a huge difference to your future performance and exercise goals.