Cooling down after a workout has been dismissed by many people as a myth or old wives tale with seeming unimportant and a general waste of time. The truth of the matter the importance of a cool down after your workout is just as important as the initial warm up before you begin your exercise routine. Most enthusiasts who intend to remain healthy and injury free have adopted this principle as a vital factor into their daily exercise routine.
Most people understand the basics of why a person should warm up before exercising as a form of preparation of the mind and body before embarking on any intense activity. Cooling down you will learn also plays a different and yet highly important role.
Cooling down after an exercise routine is done with the sole aim of providing the human body with an environment conducive to the promotion of returning the muscle tissue to its natural state. During any intense workout the human body will undergo a series of stressful events which will inevitably result in the damage of tendons, ligaments, and torn muscle fibers causing biological waste material to accumulate within the body. By cooling down you allow the body to naturally assist with its repair process of the sore and inflamed muscles. This painful experience in the form of muscle soreness is generally experienced not necessarily directly after an intense exercise routine but rather the following day. This soreness is widely seen in people who have not been consistent in their exercise routine of have taken a long break before resuming their activities.
During any intense workout small tears within the muscle tissue fibers will develop. These microscopic tears will result in the muscle tissues swelling which inadvertently places unnecessary pressure on the nerve endings of our nervous system which results in the sharp unbearable pain felt. When your heart rate increases the blood flow increases exponentially towards your muscles. Nutrients and oxygen are carried by the blood and required by the muscles. Upon reaching the muscle tissues these nutrients and oxygen are used by the muscles as they provide energy for your workout. The flow is then reversed by the contracting muscles and directed back to the heart where it is then re oxidized and the process repeated.
When a person finishes their exercise routine that natural reversal force becomes non existent preventing the flow of blood towards the heart. The remaining blood and its biological waste including lactic acid remains within the muscle tissues resulting in muscle swelling and pain.The situation is generally referred to as blood pooling.
By cooling down the blood flow is kept circulating thus removing biological waste matter from the muscles. The continue circulation of the blood serves an additional purpose in keeping the muscle tissue oxidized as the blood will continue to transport oxygen to the muscles which also provided the nutrients needed by the muscles, ligaments and tendons to repair themselves.
After a successful exercise routine, effective cool down exercises can include, a gentle exercise, stretching, and re-hydration or otherwise called refueling. These three aspects are equally important and should never be neglected as they are required by the human body to naturally replenish and repair itself after any workout.
Professional athletes as well as the everyday amateur should always implement a routine of deep breathing into their routine in order to increase the oxygen delivered to the body's system followed by at least 20 to 30 minutes of stretching. This should be concluded by drinking lots of fluids or sport drink and eating an easily digestible meal such as a fruit salad after each workout.