After an exhausting exercise routine, it's understandable if you'd rather fast-forward to the part where you hit the showers or go home. Too often, we overlook cool downs and consider them optional because we aren’t aware of all their benefits.
Primarily composed of stretches and light exercises, the cool down is actually important for your performance, your physique, and your health. And here are some of the most crucial benefits that your body can enjoy when you do a cool down.
Muscle Relaxation and Recovery
Exercise routines have to be pretty intense to make you sweat. A lot of different muscle groups get targeted during a good workout, which is why we need to stretch for muscle recovery and relaxation.
The simple act of stretching helps our muscles recover by properly aligning tissues with muscles and connective tendons after an intense exercise. Stretching also helps in reducing muscle pain, as well as muscle and joint stiffness. A lot of people also complain about experiencing soreness after workouts, so if you don’t want to feel a lot of muscle soreness, do not skip stretching!
Stabilizing Your Body
There are a lot of changes that occur in your body as you do more active exercises. For example, your heart will start to beat faster. You will also feel that your breaths are becoming shorter.
Cool downs help in stabilizing the body functions that have changed to adjust to your activity. For example, cool downs allow your breath to go back to its normal pace.
Most of all, these cool downs assist our cardiovascular system in returning to its normal functions. The American Heart Association states that cool downs slow down your heartbeat to its normal pace and helps dilated blood vessels to return to its original size — which helps explain why some people pass out or feel sick when they immediately stop exercising.
Toning Your Body
Cool downs give your routine an extra boost, especially when you incorporate stretching exercises that can burn fat. You lose fat and build up muscles as you hold certain poses that activate different muscle groups. This aids in boosting weight loss and in making your muscles leaner.
Indeed, a feature on Gala Bingo points out that your cool down routine can be a good time to focus on problem areas you’d like to target. So if you’re looking to target your belly, you can start with a seated twist, which targets your abs, back, and obliques.
Sit on the floor with your left leg stretched out in front of you. Cross your right leg over your left thigh. Twist your body to the right, and hold this position for half a minute. Stretch out your right leg, and repeat the process with your left leg. Repeat this simple pose as frequently as possible to blast your belly fat.
Better Athletic Performance
The stretches that you do during the cool down process help in improving your athletic performance. These stretches slowly but surely help your body to become more flexible, which eventually widens your range of motion. Your capability to do more motions have a lot of athletic benefits.
According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, having a wider range of motion helps you get better training results, bigger muscle mass, and improve strength, as well as reduce fat.
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This is because your flexibility enables you to improve your form while training. Having proper mobility will also allow you to be able to utilize your muscles properly during your workouts.
Contributed by: Harriet Greenwood