There isn't a magic formula for cooling down, but it's worth spending a few minutes stretching or foam rolling.
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Whether you're hustling off to work, dinner with the family or home to bed, it's easy to perform the last rep of a workout and head straight for the shower. You've checked exercise off the day's to-do list — now on to the next thing.
Skipping a cooldown won't necessarily do any harm to your muscles or to your athletic performance, according to an April 2018 review in Sports Medicine. (It's much riskier to skip a warm-up.)
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Still, many fitness pros say it's still important to take a few minutes to truly wrap up your session. "Even though exercise is a good stress for your body, it is still stress," says Chris Gagliardi, scientific education content manager for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and an ACE-certified personal trainer and health coach.
If you don't allow your body to relax and recover from the stress, he says, you're missing out.
The Perfect 3-Minute Stretching Routine for When You're Too Busy to Cool Down
The Benefits of Cooling Down After Exercise
You'll Improve Your Blood Flow
During an exercise session, your muscles become engorged with oxygenated blood, creating the "muscle pump" that many weight lifters crave, Gagliardi explains.
However, "this can cause blood to accumulate in the lower extremities and reduce blood flow back to the heart and vital organs, such as the brain, which can potentially lead to lightheadedness," he says. By taking the time to cool down — rather than ending exercise abruptly — you can reduce the risk of this feeling, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
It's the Perfect Time for a Good Stretch
Personal trainers recommend including flexibility exercises in your cooldown. "Post-exercise, the muscles are more pliable and therefore more responsive to static stretching," says ACE-certified personal trainer and Orangetheory Fitness coach Makeba Edwards.
Unlike dynamic stretching, which is better for warming up, static stretching involves staying still and holding a position for a longer duration. Static stretching helps improve muscle flexibility, joint range of motion and muscle extensibility.
"This lengthens the muscles, [which may lead] to increased joint range of motion and functionality during exercise and activities of daily living," Gagliardi says. In fact, an April 2018 review in the International Journal of Sports Medicine found that doing static stretching for at least five minutes five days a week can help promote improvements in range of motion.
You Can Reflect on Your Workout
A cooldown offers you a chance to think over what you accomplished during your workout, Edwards says, and that can help create intrinsic motivation to continue exercising.
Additionally, taking a few minutes post-sweat "mentally helps you refocus your energy away from the workout completed and back toward other aspects of your life," Gagliardi says. "It can help you to prepare to reengage with the tasks, responsibilities and commitments that lie ahead."
What Should Your Cooldown Look Like?
There's no such thing as an ideal cooldown. In fact, your cooldown depends on the type of activity and intensity of your workout, Edwards says.
"For example, if you are running, you may slow to a jog, then a walk and conclude with static stretching," she says. "And if you are weight training, you may incorporate flexibility exercises or myofascial release techniques like foam rolling."
After doing a cardio workout or if your heart rate is elevated after lifting weights, you want to cool down with some type of cardio to bring your heart rate down to your pre-exercise pace, Gagliardi says, like a slow jog or a walk. Go at the same intensity and for the same duration as your warm-up, Gagliardi says.
If you're stretching or foam rolling after exercise, focus on the muscles you used in your workout. After leg day, for example, you'll probably want to stretch and foam roll your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.
Like with exercise in general, be sure you enjoy what you're doing in your cooldown. Otherwise, you're more likely to skip it, Gagliardi says.
How Long Should You Spend Cooling Down?
Edwards recommends taking 5 to 15 minutes to close out a workout. Hold static stretches for at least 20 to 30 seconds each. When foam rolling, hold the roller on any tender spots until you feel a release, which may take anywhere from 15 seconds to up to 60.
“The ideal cooldown should conclude with you feeling relaxed and ready to go back to the world,” Gagliardi says.
Try This Quick Cooldown
Start with about five minutes of moderate- to low-intensity cardio that mimics your workout or warm-up.
Then, if you're planning to stretch, Gagliardi recommends trying these movements.
Move 1: Downward-Facing Dog
- Starting on all fours with your shoulders stacked above your wrists and hips over your knees, tuck your toes under and lift your hips up, straightening your legs.
- Draw your shoulders down and your spine away from your ears. Elongate your spine and extend the backs of your legs only as far as your hamstrings allow.
- Depending on your flexibility, bring your heels down or stay on the balls of your feet with knees bent.
- Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Complete 2 to 4 reps.
Move 2: Supine Spinal Twist
- Lie face-up and bend your right leg, bringing your knee into your chest.
- Gently cross your right knee over your midline to the left side of your body.
- Draw your right arm (and your gaze) out to your right side and place your left hand on your right knee.
- Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Complete 2 to 4 reps, then switch sides.
Move 3: Half-Kneeling Hip-Flexor Stretch
- In a half-kneeling position, place your right foot on the floor so that your right knee is directly over the ankle. Your left knee should be on the floor directly under your left hip. Place your hands on your right thigh.
- Without arching or rounding your back, lean forward into your right hip until you feel a stretch in your left hip.
- Hold for 30 to 45 seconds.
- Complete 2 to 5 reps, then switch sides.
Move 4: Seated Butterfly
- Sit up straight and bend your knees, bringing the outsides of your feet to the floor and the bottoms of your feet together in front of you. Place your feet as close to your groin as is comfortable for you.
- Keeping your back flat, slowly bend forward from your hips, using your elbows to gently push your thighs toward the floor. You should feel a stretch in your inner thighs.
- Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Complete 2 to 4 reps.
Remember not to bounce in this position.
So, How Bad Is It Really to Skip a Cooldown?
All in all, not so bad. You likely won't experience any increased soreness or negative performance in your next workout if you don't cool down. But taking a few minutes to slowly lower your heart rate and reflect on your sweat session can still have both physical and mental benefits.
The makeup of a good cooldown depends on your warm-up and workout and how much time you have. Take whatever time is available to you to do a bit of light cardio, and consider adding some stretching or myofascial release to the mix.
- How Bad Is It Really to Skip a Warm-Up?
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- How Bad Is It Really to Not Shower After a Workout?
You likely won't experience any increased soreness or negative performance in your next workout if you don't cool down. But taking a few minutes to slowly lower your heart rate and reflect on your sweat session can still have both physical and mental benefits.What happens if you skip cooldown? ›
If you stop exercising abruptly without cooling down, your muscles will suddenly stop contracting vigorously. This can cause blood to pool in the lower extremities of your body, leaving your blood without as much pressure to be pumped back to the heart and brain.Can you skip the cooldown portion of exercise? ›
Risks of Not Doing a Cooldown
But taking a few minutes to cool down after exercise is an important part of your recovery and is a step that should not be skipped.
Active cool-downs do not appear to prevent injuries, and preliminary evidence suggests that performing an active cool-down on a regular basis does not attenuate the long-term adaptive response. Active cool-downs accelerate recovery of lactate in blood, but not necessarily in muscle tissue.Do cooldowns actually help? ›
Cooling down after your workout allows for a gradual recovery of preexercise heart rate and blood pressure. Cooling down may be most important for competitive endurance athletes, such as marathoners, because it helps regulate blood flow.Do girls have no cooldown? ›
Although it is generally reported that women do not experience a refractory period and can thus experience an additional orgasm (or multiple orgasms) soon after the first one, some sources state that both men and women experience a refractory period because women may also experience a moment after orgasm in which ...What is the ideal cooldown time? ›
After your workout, it's best to spend five to 10 minutes cooling down through a sequence of slow movements. This helps prevent muscle cramps and dizziness while gradually slowing your breathing and heart rate.Do you burn calories during cooldown? ›
After working out at a high intensity, your body needs to take in oxygen at a higher rate than it did pre-exercise so it can cool down, repair itself, and return to its resting state. "This requires the body and metabolism to work at a higher rate, so it continues to burn calories," Dobrosielski explains.Why are cooldown runs important? ›
Why Cool Downs Are Important. After a long run, taking time for a proper cool down is every bit as important as warming up. After you work out, a cool down prepares your body for recovery. Not properly cooling down can hinder your recovery and future performance, possibly leading to injury over time.What are the psychological effects of a cool down? ›
It reduce tension and nervousness.
Cooling down means gradually reducing the intensity of the main workout/competition by performing limbering and stretching exercises followed by long and deep breathing exercises is called cooling down or limbering down.
A cool-down helps your body remove lactic acid, a by-product of vigorous exercise. If you do not cool down, the lactic acid may pool in your muscles, causing increased soreness.How often should a man release sperm? ›
There is no specific frequency with which a man should ejaculate. There is no solid evidence that failure to ejaculate causes health problems. However, ejaculating frequently can reduce the man's risk of getting prostate cancer. Ejacu-lation can be through having sex or masturbating a few times a day.Why do men's mood change after ejaculating? ›
This is because after the rush of orgasm, dopamine levels drop below baseline, similar to what happens during withdrawal from drugs of abuse. Low dopamine levels are associated with depression, low energy, lack of ambition, social anxiety, among others (Dailly et al., 2004).How long should a man last before ejaculating? ›
That depends on many factors and can vary from time to time. Measured on a stopwatch, it takes an average of 5 to 7 minutes for a man to reach orgasm and ejaculate. But the overall range is wide, from less than one minute to over half an hour.What ability has the longest cooldown? ›
Realm Warp (Rank 1) has the longest Cooldown of all castable abilities. It is also the longest cooldown of all abilities that can benefit from ability haste.Can I sit down after cooldown? ›
Don't – Sit down straightaway
But even if you've reduced intensity for 5-10 minutes after a workout, you may not want to plant yourself back on the couch just yet. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a familiar condition to just about everyone—even if you don't know its official name.
What is Cooldown Rules? “A Cooldown is the amount of time you need to wait after using an in-game action. This is calculated from the distance you will travel between your in-game actions.” Cooldown Chart. For example, if you just triggered action on location A, then you want to fly to 10km far away and keep playing.Is it good to shower immediately after workout? ›
Showering after a workout does help your muscles to recover, and boosts your body's ability to bounce back and be ready for your next workout. That's because showering can get lactic acid, the natural chemical reaction that causes soreness, out of your muscles.Why skipping warm-up is bad? ›
When you skip the warm-up, it makes you body more susceptible to sprained muscles, cramps, and other injuries. These injuries could actually prevent you from exercising altogether until you recover, and this is the opposite of the healthy lifestyle you are trying to live.What happens if you don't stretch after exercise? ›
Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.
The answer is NO. The amount of sweat is not an indicator of a good workout or increased fat loss. It is a myth.Does sweating burn belly fat? ›
Can Sweating Burn Fat? Technically, no. You'll probably break a sweat during an intense fat-burning workout — but the sweat isn't the reason you burn fat. So even if you're sitting in a pool of your own sweat, that doesn't automatically mean you've just burned a ton of fat.Do you burn more calories staying warm or cooling off? ›
In general, chilly (but well above freezing) temps increase thermogenesis by up to 30 percent, a 2014 paper found, while temps cold enough to make you shiver can generate more “brown fat,” which is particularly good at thermogenesis and therefore burning calories.What is the target heart rate for cool-down? ›
You should keep cooling down until your heart rate drops close to its resting rate, which should be about 60 to 80 beats per minute.Does walking increase stamina? ›
Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier. You do not have to walk for hours.Why is my body hot hours after working out? ›
New exercise can alter your metabolism and disrupt your body's ability to regulate temperature, resulting in night sweats. Metabolism stays elevated for approximately 14 hours after vigorous exercise, according to research in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal.What are doms? ›
Sore muscles after exercise
Feeling your muscles ache or stiffen for a few days after exercise is normal and is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It can affect people of all fitness levels, particularly after trying a new activity or pushing yourself a bit harder than usual.
DOMS is highly scientific acronym that stands for- Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.What are the risks of a cool down? ›
The cool-down is just as critical. It keeps the blood flowing throughout the body. Stopping suddenly can cause light-headedness because your heart rate and blood pressure drop rapidly.Does cold air reduce anxiety? ›
Since your vagus nerve is the main nerve that is in charge of relaxing your body after it's under stress, icing it may help with anxiety. According to research from 2008 , cold exposure causes a shift in your parasympathetic nervous system, which is controlled by your vagus nerve.
Sweating more or feeling hotter than usual can be due to medication, hormonal changes, stress, or an underlying health condition, such as diabetes or an overactive thyroid.Why is my bedroom hotter than the rest of the house? ›
Your Air Vents are Closed or Obstructed
If you have closed your air vents, or your vents are obstructed by furniture or upholstery, proper airflow is being disrupted. This can most certainly cause some rooms in your home to be hotter than others, while placing extra strain on your HVAC system.
Our internal body temperature is regulated by a part of our brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus checks our current temperature and compares it with the normal temperature of about 37°C. If our temperature is too low, the hypothalamus makes sure that the body generates and maintains heat.Why is it bad to sit down after running? ›
When you are done working out it is important to get that blood from the extremities back to the brain and core of the body so nutrients can be picked up, replaced and begin their repair work. If you keep that blood in the extremities (e.g., by laying down), the chances of you passing out are much higher.What is a passive cool down? ›
Passive cooldowns are varied but involve little voluntary muscular movements and can include sitting, standing, lying rest, stretching, foam rolling, vibration therapy, cold/hot-water immersion, and compression garments (this list is not exhaustive).What happens if you don't do cool down exercises? ›
Cooling Down: After exercise, your blood is heavy in your extremities and your heart rate is usually elevated. The purpose of the cool down is to return your heart rate close to resting. Stopping quickly without a cool down can result in light-headedness, dizziness and/or fainting.What is the five minute rule workout? ›
It's simple - set a timer for five minutes and start your exercise session, telling yourself you're going to move until the five minutes is over and then reassess how you feel. Half an hour of cardio or a tough workout can seem pretty daunting. Five minutes? That's definitely achievable and not too scary.Is a 5 minute workout better than nothing? ›
Ultimately, all three experts agree that working out in some way most days — even if just for 5 minutes — is always better than doing nothing. “People tend to focus on what they can't do instead of what they can do,” says Joyner.Should you stretch before or after cool down? ›
These stretches should last for 30 to 60 seconds for each muscle group, and be performed at least twice a week. After a workout you should do a proper cool-down, and stretching is one way to do that, Dr. De Souza said — as is foam rolling or walking.Is A Cooldown necessary in running? ›
After a long run, taking time for a proper cool down is every bit as important as warming up. After you work out, a cool down prepares your body for recovery. Not properly cooling down can hinder your recovery and future performance, possibly leading to injury over time.
Can my Competitive cooldown be removed? No. Regardless of the reason a Competitive cooldown was issued they cannot be removed from an account. You will need to wait for the cooldown to expire before you can again queue for Competitive matches.Why is it bad to stop immediately after running? ›
When you run and stop suddenly blood returning to your heart at a very high rate, too much blood circulating and entering your heart and you stopping activity results in a disproportionate starling law of the heart.Is it OK to lay down after a run? ›
Taking a nap after exercise can support muscle recovery. When you sleep, your pituitary gland releases growth hormone. Your muscles need this hormone to repair and build tissue. This is essential for muscle growth, athletic performance, and reaping the benefits of physical activity.Does warming up improve performance? ›
Performing warm-ups increases muscle temperature and blood flow, which contributes to improved exercise performance and reduced risk of injuries to muscles and tendons.Is muscle regained faster? ›
Rebuilding old muscle is a lot faster than gaining it in the first place, thanks to a phenomenon known as muscle memory. Research shows that when a muscle is gained, lost, and then gained back again, it will grow more quickly during the re-building phase compared to the initial training period from an untrained state.Do big muscles recover faster? ›
With that being said, different muscle groups tend to have different rates of recovery, with smaller muscles—biceps, triceps, calves—being able to recover more quickly than larger muscles—lats, quads, hamstrings, etc. In addition, different individuals are able to handle different amounts of training volume.Is 2 hours too long to workout? ›
Workouts should last no less than 60 minutes and no more than 90 minutes. This is sufficient time to challenge your body with quality reps. Anything more, and you'll see diminished returns for your efforts. If you feel inclined to train longer, it's best to split up your workout.How long does cooldown take? ›
Under normal circumstances, it takes a minimum of 30 minutes for an overheated engine to cool down to a temperature where it is safe to inspect it and potentially work on it.Can you battle while on cooldown? ›
No, you can not do raids in Pokemon GO while you are on the cooldown period (unless you're at the location that put you on cooldown). If you attempt to battle in a raid it will simply kick you out of the Gym back to the main world.