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Just as important as it is to warm up before any workout, cooling down is also essential. Some people may think that overlooking cooling down can cause no harm. In fact cooling down is an essential part of the workout. A cool down doesn’t take too long, barely a 3-10 minutes of stretching and gentle variations of the movements you would usually do during the workout. So next time, instead of rushing after you are done exercising, remind yourself of a good cool down for these 5 reasons.
1. Regulating your heart rate. Exercising in general causes your heart rate to increase and after exercising, your heart beats faster than the normal and you need to bring it to its normal rate. Stopping suddenly and quickly without slowing down gradually can cause dizziness, light-headedness. So, for instance, if you are running, the best way to slow your heart rate down is by walking.
2. Reducing the build-up of lactic acid. After intense workouts, lactic acid builds up in our bodies which can lead to muscle cramping and stiffness. Cooling down helps speeding up the process of releasing the lactic acids in our body and accordingly, your body recovers more quickly.
3. Preventing injuries Like warming up, cooling down after exercises help prevent injuries such as muscle tears. Skipping cooling down and stretching after a workout not only slows down muscle recovery, but also reduces the benefits gained from a workout.
4. Body restoration. Our bodies undergo several changes during working out such the adrenaline pumping, increased temperature, and accelerated breathing. Cooling down after a workout helps restoring the body to its normal condition.
5. Stress relief and relaxation. Exercising is as good for the mind as it is for the body. As your body begins to slow down, you begin to get into a relaxation mood and the brain begins to release dopamine and serotonin, the two hormones that are responsible to makes us feel good and less stressed.