Taking Time to Cool Down After Exercise
By Donna Stark
Time is our most precious commodity, and if you are like me, the one thing that you always want to do after a workout is to hurry out to your car so that you can get on with the rest of your day. But in doing so, you can be missing out on a fabulous opportunity to give your body some much-needed TLC. Studies show that people who take the time to cool down and stretch after their workouts reap far more health benefits than those who choose to skip this important step. So start doing your body a favor and slow down!
Take That Extra Step
Don't be in such a rush to leave the gym! By taking a few extra minutes after your workout, you can set the foundation for improved fitness results and better health. Here are some suggestions on what steps to take once you are finished with your routine.
- Cool down - Taking the time to cool down after a workout is just as important as warming your body up before you begin. This period of cooling down encourages a smooth and gradual transition that allows your heart rate to drop in as safe a manner as possible. It also helps to prevent dizziness and lightheadedness.
- Stretch - Stretching is an important component of fitness that many people choose to ignore. Taking the time to stretch the muscles while they are still warm can help improve posture, flexibility, range of motion, and relaxation. This is also a good time to take advantage of your gym's foam rollers.
- Rehydrate - Well, you would think this is obvious, but so many people tend to overlook it, including me! It's important to keep your body hydrated at all times, but especially so after an intense workout. Your body is going to be screaming for some fluids! Remember, it's a lot easier to stay hydrated in the first place than to try and recover after becoming dehydrated.
- Wash hands - This tip alone isn't going to help you build muscle or lose weight, but it will keep you healthy so that you don't lose any workout time from being sick in bed at home. Stop the spread of germs by washing your hands thoroughly after you exercise.
- Eat - A post-workout snack is completely appropriate and oftentimes necessary, but that doesn't mean you should hit the local pizza joint on the way home. Choose a combination of healthy carbohydrates and protein to help repair your muscles. Almond butter on whole-grain bread or some Greek yogurt with fruit are good choices here.
Reaching Your Goals
Taking the time to cool down, stretch, and focus on your overall health after your workouts is the best way to reach those fitness goals of yours. So start today and make it a habit to include some extra time in your routine! You will be glad you did once you start seeing some different results!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Citrus Heights, Calif.