Do You Cool Down After a Workout?
If you want to maximize your recovery, and therefore results, spend the extra time after your workout to cool down. This is so important because it helps to return your system to its parasympathetic state faster so your body can start the repairing and rebuilding process straight away.
We always prioritise our warm up, but how often do we just finish our work out and leave the gym? This one thing alone can significantly sabotage your recovery. Ideally your cooldown should include:
Active cool down – 3-5 minutes at a very low intensity on the bike, rower, walking etc.
Recovery breathing – 3-5 minutes. Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 3 and exhale for 6.
Stretching, foam rolling, trigger point work using a massage ball.
Being in a sympathetic or state and putting your body under physical stress when working out is a great thing, as this enables your body to work hard and push weights, necessary for fitness and strength gains. The problem is with not having that off switch to transition into rest and digest mode. The goal of every cooldown should be to ease your body back down with your heart rate de-elevated and your stress hormones lowered. An effective cool down can make a huge difference in your ability to recover, so you can front up again to your next training session in a fully recovered state.