After a period of strenuous activity it is essential that you take the necessary steps to gradually bring your body back to a pre workout state. This will involve lower intensity exercises, stretching, deep breathing, and refueling your body with the appropriate nutrients. In the long term this will prevent injury, strengthen the immune system and increase fitness.
Averts Blood Pooling
It is a rather dangerous practice to abruptly stop exercising after a period of intense physical activity due to the risk of blood pooling. Blood pooling is the stagnancy of blood in a particular area of the body which can result in dizziness, fainting and other related consequences. When you exercise nutrient rich blood is transported to muscle cells that needs it wherever they may be: legs, arms, chest, etc. but when you suddenly stop working out there is no force acting to return stale and used blood to the heart for replenishment. By gradually lowering intensity after extended physical activity you will aid the process of blood circulation to expel waste material and provide fresh blood to the muscles cells that need it.
Increased Flexibility of Muscles
It is ideal to follow low intensity cool down exercises with a few minutes stretching since your muscles being warm at this time will be most flexible. Over time stretching after a workout will increase your muscles scope of movement and strengthen connective tissue so that the likelihood of injury in the future is reduced. Stretching after your workout will also reduce the likelihood of cramps since it will serve to relax tensed muscles after the stress of intense physical activity. To obtain the most out of your stretching routine you should focus on your breathing and always stretch the particular muscle groups that have been most active.
Replenishes the Body
An intense workout session should always be followed by a drink or snack to replenish nutrients lost over the course of the exercise. High carbohydrate snacks or drinks are ideal to replenish glycogen stores so that your energy can be restored. It is also good to include some protein into the works so that your muscles can be supplied with the amino acids necessary to rebuild. An excellent choice for a post workout meal is a banana milkshake.
Your cooling down routine does not have to be arduous as just a few minutes would be suitable. Take the time to enjoy it bearing in mind you are doing something good for your body. A proper cooling down phase will let you feel refreshed, invigorated, inspired an upbeat after a workout. Why deny yourself such a privilege?
Chris Brown is a 25 year old fitness enthusiast who blogs at Gain Build Muscle.
He also has a presence on twitter.