Remember to Cool Down
End Your Workout on a Cool Note
By Danielle Fabing, RD, LD, and Christy Estes, RD, LD
Everyone knows that warming up is an important part of exercise, but did you know that cooling down is just as important? As the summer heats up, increased temperatures can put added stress on your body, causing it to work harder to stay cool. This can lead to exhaustion or even injury. In fact, 60% of people who start an exercise routine quit within six weeks because of an injury. Aside from reducing the risk of injury, cooling down also helps you:
- Gently return heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure to normal.
- Improve flexibility.
- Reduce muscle soreness.
- Prevent dizziness caused by blood pooling in the legs.
Whether you are starting a new exercise program or continuing your current regimen, keep yourself on track and avoid interruptions in your exercise routine by using the following tips to incorporate cooling down into your plan:
- Walk or decrease the intensity of your exercise for five to 10 minutes after your workout. Use this time to catch up on conversation with your workout buddy or check out the summer landscape.
- Oxygenate your system by including deep, steady breathing as part of your cooldown.
- Finish with five to 10 minutes of gentle stretches.
- Refuel your body with water.
While cooling down is crucial to beat the heat in the hot summer, the above tips are also important to remember for indoor exercise and in the cooler months. Best of luck with your continued exercise success.