Cool-down exercises are just as important as warm-up exercises. However, most people tend to overlook cooling down, especially after a run. Some even think that doing so is unnecessary as forgoing it doesn’t seem to cause any harm to the body. In reality, however, cool-down exercises are a must whenever you work out.
There’s no reason not to do cool-down exercises since they don’t take that long. You only need 3-10 minutes to complete a series of stretching movements. Some even hop into unique and custom built saunas as part of cooling down, especially after running either on a treadmill or outdoors.
So the next time you’re thinking of skipping cool-down exercises after a jog, remind yourself of the following benefits you can get from doing them:
1. Lower Your Heart Rate
The most important reason you should do some cool-down exercises after a run is that it helps in safely lowering your heart rate. As you run, your heart rate goes up when your heart pumps more blood to your legs, which are working harder than usual. But when you finish running, your heart rate then slows down and returns to its normal rate.
If your heart rate lowers at a very fast rate, this can prove to be dangerous for you. Some symptoms you may experience include feeling dizzy or light-headed all of a sudden. There are even some people who faint because their heart rate slowed down too quickly. Such can happen because, in that sort of situation, the blood pressure in your body drops drastically within a short period. So it’s recommended that you do 5-10 minutes of cool-down exercises to allow your blood pressure to drop gradually.
If you lead an active lifestyle by running regularly, it’s important to be aware of the risks of your workouts. This is especially true if you have a preexisting medical condition. Give yourself some time to warm up and cool down before and after your run to prevent a risky drop in your blood pressure. After all, you’re exercising to improve your body, not harm it.
2. Prevent Injury
Like warmups, cooldowns can also help prevent the risk of injuries after a run. Disregarding stretching during that period will not only slow down your muscle recovery but also make the process more painful. Aside from that, the number of benefits you’re supposed to reap after running may be reduced.
Going for cool-down exercises following a run may help you steer clear of numerous injuries such as muscle tears, sprains, and strains. With that said, the stretches you do should focus on elongating muscle fibers that have been under tension during your workout. It would be a waste of your time and effort to run for hours and miles to achieve your ideal fitness goals only to ruin your progress by not taking care of your muscles afterward.
3. Relax Your Mind
Running positively impacts not only your body but your mind as well. Aside from improving your overall health, it can boost your mood and help you focus your mind. The benefits of running can be amplified if you do a proper cooldown every time.
A 5 to 10-minute cool-down routine after running provides an excellent opportunity for you to look back on the fitness goals you’ve accomplished so far and determine how you’re feeling overall. As your movements and heart rate begin to slow down, you get into a relaxed mood where the brain releases dopamine and serotonin, two essential hormones that are responsible for making you feel good.
It’s important for you to reflect on your fitness goals, especially if you tend to deal with a lot of stress at home or at work every day. Running and then cooling down afterward allows you to calm your mind as your body begins to recover from the workout.
Cooling down after running does your body a lot of good, so its benefits should never be understated or ignored. Finishing a running workout and switching to another task right away without stretching properly isn’t something you should do if you want your post-workout recovery to go well.
Cooldowns allow your body to return to its natural resting state. They’re also an effective way of boosting muscle recovery, preventing injuries, and reducing muscle soreness. A proper cooldown may help improve your cardiovascular and respiratory systems as well. What’s more, it’ll enhance your mood, which will ultimately enable you to continue working toward all of your fitness goals.