The Importance of a Cool Down Period

Woman jogger bent over catching her breath.

Unless your workout takes place in the Arctic Ocean, your body will get hotter as you exercise. Your heart beats faster and your sweat glands activate in an effort to prevent you from overheating. Cardio exercises tend to elevate your heart rate and body temperature the most, especially if you are doing a HIIT workout. So, should you cool down after a workout? It’s more important than you might think.

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Should you cool down after a workout?

Just as warming up helps your body prepare for a workout, cooling down will help it recover. A cool-down period is your body’s chance to gradually recover from a highly-elevated heart rate. For example, say you’re coming to the end of a thirty-minute run on a treadmill. Instead of just hopping off and hitting the shower, you should take five minutes to just walk at a slow pace on the treadmill before turning it off. This will allow your blood vessels to ease back to their pre-exercise state. Think of your entire workout like a bell curve. Start with a low-intensity warm-up, then your elevated exercises, followed by another period of low intensity. This just helps to condition your body and may go a long way towards maximizing your workout. It’s important to remember that cooling down and warming up aren’t meant to prevent injuries or soreness, More research is still needed on that efficacy.

So there you have it. Cooling down just helps your body naturally return to its resting state and return its blood pressure and heart rate to normal more gradually. This is especially helpful for endurance competitions because this process can help regulate blood circulation.