We all know that warming up before we exercise is important, as this increases your heart rate and improves blood flow, helping more oxygen reach the muscles as they’re working in the gym.
But something that is often neglected and forgotten about is the cool down, a part of your workout that’s just as important as the warm up and which can really help you transition from being active to being more sedentary, reducing your risk of injury and easing any delayed onset muscle soreness you may experience post-training session.
One really easy way to go about it is to simply reduce the intensity of your activity, whether that’s by reducing the weight you’re lifting or by reducing the number of reps.
All you need to do is start with your highest number of reps or weights and then gradually decrease until you’re lifting relatively lightly or only doing a couple of reps. This will ease your body into more of a resting phase and bring your heart rate back down slowly.
Typically, a solid cool down after training is between five and ten minutes, and it can really help you recover quicker by reducing the amount of lactic acid in the bloodstream. Lactic acid has its uses in the body and helps to keep our cells, tissues and organs working properly - and it’s especially useful as a fuel source for our muscles as we train.
Your body will naturally get rid of this lactic acid buildup through the metabolic process, but you can help hurry it along by cooling down properly, breathing deeply while you exercise and taking active rests while training, or doing something low-intensity.
So the next time you’re in the gym, why not try a cool down and see if this makes a difference to how quickly you recover post-exercise?
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