Is It REALLY Necessary To Do A Cooldown After Your Workout?

We get it. When you're done your workout, YOU'RE DONE YOUR WORKOUT and want to get on with the rest of your life. You don't want to waste time on a cooldown. But is it really a waste? Are cooldowns a necessary part of your workout routine or just a major time suck? Well, the answer depends on your workout. According to John Halliwill, Ph.D., the director of the exercise physiology lab at the University of Oregon, if your workout is intense enough that holding a conversation becomes difficult, you definitely need to do a cooldown. Exercise causes an elevation in heart rate, increased blood flow to the extremities, and an opening of the blood vessels that carry blood to the muscles. When you move and your muscles contract, they help pump that blood back to your heart. Physiologists refer to this pumping as your "second heart." If you just end your exercise without a cooldown, you stop this second heart. Your heart will continue to pump large amounts of blood into your extremities but your muscles will no longer be helping that blood recirculate back to your upper body. As a result, you may feel light headed and a little nauseated. If you continue in this state, you will faint. inpost A cooldown will keep your muscles moving, helping to maintain circulation, while your cardiovascular system returns to normal, says Halliwill. More likely than not, if you feel faint, you will sit down. While this helps the blood get back to your heart, allowing the feeling to pass, it is still something you'd probably rather not experience. Halliwill says that avoiding that feeling isn't the only reason you should do a cooldown. Keeping your body moving, at a lower intensity, will allow the blood flow to your muscles to taper off at a gradual pace. It may also help the blood clear away the chemical byproducts of exercise, like lactate, while delivering important nutrients that can help your muscles rebuild and repair. So, if you are doing an intense workout, like the ones you can find on Sweatflix℠, it IS necessary to cooldown. All you have to do is five to ten minutes of movements that use the same muscle groups, at a lighter intensity, says Halliwill. If you are running, for example, walk the last few minutes or do some dynamic stretching if you're doing a HIIT style workout. Your cooldown doesn't have to be anything crazy, just lower intensity movements that ease your body back into homeostasis. What do you do for a cooldown?

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