Okay, so I am warmed up, worked out and I am finished, no need to stretch or cool down. My body will do its thing as I leave the gym/house because nobody has time for that. I have errands, kids to pick-up or drop-off somewhere, I have dinner to prep, and I will more than likely be stuck in traffic on my way to grocery store. So my body will still be warm and it will just cool down later when I go to bed.
I am sure we all have had similar reasons and busy schedules as to why we forget or neglect to cool down our bodies. Here are few reasons to put cooling down your body to the top of your priority list when it comes to working out.
Just like warming up you want to gradually cool the body down and reward yourself for all that hard work that you put it through. The body needs time get back to its daily operating point.
Keep in mind how hard your heart and lungs have been working in the last 20-60 minutes during your workout. The heart is pumping massive volumes of blood to deliver much needed nutrients to the hard working muscles. The lungs are trying to keep up with gas exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide as you inhale and exhale faster. Remember your body temperature is higher than normal and your muscles are stretched to their maximum contraction and they're fatigued.
Now imagine that your body is doing all that hard work and you just…stop! No pumping the breaks, no slowly calming it down. You wouldn’t fuel up your car, drive it at 120 miles per hour, and then slam it into a brick wall. Okay, okay a little dramatic; obviously, that is not a wise decision. But can you picture what’s happening to your body at this point?
Cooling down the body reduces the risk of venous pooling in the legs, in other words the blood that was forced to the legs during a workout are now trapped in legs and cannot be pumped back to heart and lungs. Like a traffic jam, the blood is backed up in the veins and the heart cannot take in as much blood as it did a moment ago when you were working out. Which can lead to dizziness, passing out, and other serious conditions.
Cooling down reduces the risk of cardiovascular issues due to the abrupt slowing of the heart. Cooling down your muscles will help repair it from the work you invested into it and prevent further damage to them.
During a workout the blood is reverted from the organs to supply nutrients to your skin to promote heat loss. High blood pressure causes you to sweat and the evaporation of the moisture off your skin is what helps cool down the body.
Reward your body and your mind with a nice ten minute cool down and let your body do the rest!