Once you’ve finished an awesome workout, you may be ready to head to the locker room or car and head home. However, you workout shouldn’t be over once you’ve run your last mile or completed your last rep. Instead, you need to focus on cooling your body down after a workout.
Why a Cool Down is Necessary
Cooling down after a workout is very important. Although you’ve done the strenuous activity already, how you cool down will have a direct impact on your body over the next 24 to 48 hours. A proper cool down can help prevent muscle soreness, improve muscle strength and growth, and keep your heart healthy (a large amount of heart attacks and strokes occur at the gym).
What You Should Do
The first thing you should do is bring your heart rate down slowly. This means doing light cardio, such as walking at a steady pace. This will help you avoid feeling sick after finishing your workout. A good rule of thumb is about 5 minutes of walking.
Next, you should stretch. After a workout, your muscles will naturally contract. By stretching, you prevent them from shrinking and this will allow your muscles to grow stronger quicker, which helps you get the full benefit from your workout. Stretching also relaxes your muscles, which helps improve circulation and hastens the removal of waste products from your workout. Less waste products means less soreness and stiffness the next morning.
You should also make sure that you are fully hydrated. Working out makes you sweat, which can dehydrate you. Even if you drank water while working out, you need to keep replenishing your fluids. You may not be thirsty, but it is recommended that you drink another 2 to 3 cups of water within 2 hours of completing your workout.
Finally, you need to eat. Working out caused you to burn hundreds of calories and wear your muscles. You need to help your body repair, which you can do by eating. Try to eat something with 1 hour of working out – the sooner the better. And eat foods with complex carbs and protein. This will help your body rebuild quicker.
How do you cool down after your workout?
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