Updated: Dec 27, 2022
The main goals of a cool-down is to reduce your heart and breathing rates, gradually cool your body temperature and return muscles to their optimal length-tension relationships.
Have you ever felt that after an exercise you feel dizzy and you might lose your balance and sometimes you feel faint? Well this is another reasons to cool down. To prevent blood pooling we implement a cool down which will help prevent any cause for dizziness or possible fainting.
Apart from bringing your body temperature and heart rate down, the cool down helps the body dispose of waste products and toxins generated during exercise; the most well known waste product is lactic acid from lactic acid build up. if lactic acid is allowed to build up in the body, it may cause stiffness and cramp the following day and in some cases it can be extremely painful.
Once you have completed your gradual cool down why don't you think about stretching those muscles! When you have been exercising you have been performing contraction after contraction during your workout, as a result your muscles are left in a shortened state. Stretching these muscles helps to reset your body to a natural position and posture. If you decide to walk out of the gym without paying attention to areas that are overly tight and spending a few minutes stretching, you may suffer later on with increased soreness and stiffness which will take you longer to recover from.
It is also important to take on fluids (water not alcohol) and eat a carbohydrate-rich meal after exercise due to your body needing to restock and top up your energy reserves - this does not mean head to your local fast food takeaway and order the biggest burger with extra toppings and fries!
So next time you think it's easier to suddenly stop on the treadmill and head back home, think again - there are valid reasons to why we cool down and it could also help prevent you from developing various injuries.