Don’t miss out on cool down exercises after a workout. Here’s why

Updated on: 9 February 2022, 22:43 pm IST

Your fitness sessions are incomplete if you do not indulge in warm-ups or cool down exercises. An expert tells you why.

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Cool down after you exercise. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The daily hustle, work load and more importantly work from home during Covid-19 times has been creating a lot of awareness among people for a healthier lifestyle. A lot of us are inclining towards online fitness classes or yoga sessions or even gym workouts as the pandemic situation improves. An important thing to remember during all these workouts are a good amount of warm-up and cool down exercises.

Most of us are aware of warm-ups, but we do tend to take our cool down exercises lightly just to wrap up the session early.

exercise routine
First prep your body for a workout. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How do warm-ups and cool down exercises help us?

Warm-ups before workout can vary from 5-15 minutes depending upon the intensity and duration of exercises. It can even be a part of the main workout in low intensity or different set of exercises for the whole body. For example, if it is an aerobics class of 40 minutes, then the same aerobics moves can be done in low intensity for 5-15 minutes as a part of warm up.

Benefits of warm-up exercises:

* Improve blood circulation
* Increase muscle temperature
* Improve flexibility
* Reduce the direct load on the heart
* Reduce risk of muscle injuries and spasms/muscle pulls
* Warm up gradually increases the heart rate and breathing rate, which prepares you for efficient functioning of heart, blood vessels and lungs.

Every workout session should conclude with cool down exercises

Stopping abruptly post workout can cause cardiac palpitations or pooling of blood in legs, leading to dizziness or fainting.

Cool down exercises can be active or passive. Active cool down is also called as warm down.

In this, you slow down the intensity of exercises and stop gradually. For example, after a good 30 minutes of running, you can jog for 5-15 minutes. Other interventions can be cold water immersion or ice packs.

Passive cool down involves static stretching, relaxation exercises.

Also Read: Stretch yourself a little! Rujuta Diwekar answers 10 FAQs on stretching

stertching exercises
Stretching is important for your body. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Stretching exercises along with cool down are beneficial in multiple ways.

* They prevent muscle injuries
* They improve flexibility in the joints
* They prevent soreness of the muscles post heavy strengthening workout
* It promotes removal of waste products like lactic acid which accelerates the recovery process
* These reduce load on cardiovascular system.
* It strengthens the immune system.
* It helps in thermoregulation, which is core temperature regulation

5 important cool down stretches which are beneficial post any workout are:

1. Hamstring stretches

2. Quadriceps stretches

3. Calf stretches

4. DLF stretching

5. Side stretching

For pregnant ladies, cool down post workout is essential but static stretches are to be done in moderation. Due to pregnancy and certain hormones, the flexibility is already increased in joints. So, excessive stretching may cause injuries. Supervised workouts are always the best.

Since now we have understood the importance of warm ups, cool down and stretching, even if we have time crunch, make sure you do your cool down properly.

Dr Mithila Pawar(PT) Dr Mithila Pawar(PT)

Dr Mithila Pawar(PT), Executive Physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Mumbai (Malad)

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