How to Properly Cool Down After Training Hard at the Gym

Written by  //  February 6, 2013  //  Health, Wellness  //  No comments

Down After Training Hard at the GymWhile vigorous exercise burns your calories and increases your metabolism rate, it also means more oxygen would be consumed by the body afterwards.  During exercise, your muscles demand greater oxygen to keep up with the exertion placed on them. This increase in oxygen supply requires the heart to beat faster. But once you stop your workout immediately, the heat rate falls and oxygen is no longer available to your muscles which causes anaerobic respiration. 

Anaerobic respiration in turn causes production of lactic acid which causes the pH level of the blood to fall. This weighs down on energy production and reduces your performance, along with causing muscle soreness and cramps. Moreover, after intense exercise, your muscular tissues can become misaligned and may settle into new positions if the body is not cooled down. This is why rather than immediately slouching on the couch or slipping into the shower, you need to cool down your body after your exercise regimen.

Here are a few ways of how you can cool down your body properly after training hard in the gym.

Slow Down

Rather than putting an abrupt end to your rigorous workout session, ease out of it like you eased into it while warming up. The cool down can last 5 to 10 minutes or even more in case of a tough exercise regimen. One way of cooling down is through continue doing whatever exercise you were engaged in at low intensity or gradually slow it down. This will remove any lactic acid that has accumulated and normalize you heart rate and body temperature.

You can even walk, jog, or cycle lightly, and even some deep breathing to help blood flow back to your heart, lungs, and muscles to oxygen supply. The light exercise you do should have certain movements that you used in your workout session.

Stretch to Relax

After your heart beat has slowed, you should stretch your muscles to relax them since after a workout they are naturally contracted. Stretch all the major muscle groups for at least 10-30 seconds. Stretch up till the point you feel a slight discomfort but no pain. This stretching allows your muscles to rebuild, and become bigger and stronger from the workout. Stretching also increases your body’s flexibility and prevents risks of injuries.

Replenish Fluid Levels

During exercise, it is natural for your body to lose fluids. This clearly means that after the workout you need to drink sufficient water and liquids for a healthy metabolism function. It is recommended that you drink 2 to 3 cups of water within two hours after exercise to prevent dehydration. After two hours, you can continue with your regular drinking routine.

Re-Energize Your Body

Exercise has drained out your body’s energy stores which need to be refueled. You need adequate nutrition to gather calories so that your body can recover, repair tissues and become stronger. It is recommended that you eat within 90 minutes of your workout. Make sure high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates are included in your diet. Protein is needed for repair of muscles while carbohydrates are needed to re-fuel your body, providing it with calories. A tuna sandwich in whole wheat bread is a wholesome snack after a workout. 

This post was written by Terry Wood, an expert with US Insurance.  Terry’s emphasis on health helps her share tips and advice to her readers.

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