The exercise cool-down is a poorly understood and even more poorly executed protocol.
I hope to make clear that cooling down after working out is just as important as the warm-up (which you are also doing, right?), and should be done on a regular basis.
After any workout (cardio or weights) your muscles are tired and very quickly begin breaking down in order to rebuild (this is a good thing). That time, right after you finish exercising, is a critical time for muscle tissue repair, strength building, and overall recovery. That is where your cool-down comes into play.
How to Cool-Down Effectively?
- Bring your heart rate and breathing back to normal.
- Prevent fainting or dizziness.
- Remove lactic acid byproducts and metabolites which build up during vigorous activity.
- Reduce the post-exercise tendency for muscle spasm or cramping.
- Increase flexibility.
- Return our body to a normal position.
- Reflect on this workout and make plans for the next one.