A new Cool Down & Stretch video is now up on the FitForce FX YouTube channel! My favorite cool down and stretch routines are ones that flow and make your body feel good. Don’t skip your cool down & stretch! Sometimes I’m tempted to skip it because of limited time, but a cool down and stretch is very important and has MANY benefits!
Four reasons you shouldn’t skip your cool down and stretch:
1) Blood Pooling: When we are exercising our heart is pumping at an accelerated rate and the oxygenated blood has to be pumped from our heart all the way through our lower extremities before working its way back to the heart (against gravity) to be re-oxygenated again. When the body goes from performing a lot of work during to working less, the squeezing action provided by the working muscles is greatly diminished. So, when exercise is stopped abruptly, this can cause the blood to pool in the lower extremities and slow its return back to the heart and, subsequently, the brain. This can lead to lightheadedness, dizziness, and even fainting.
2) Injury Prevention: When we’re finished exercise, our muscles are warm and pliable and perfectly primed for improving overall flexibility! Consistently stretching after a workout is an excellent way to get our muscles lengthened out, allowing us to have better range of motion and guard against injuries that happen to the inflexible. Additionally, lower back pain can be caused by tight hamstrings and/or tight hip flexors, so STRETCH to prevent lower back pain!
3) Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS): DOMS occurs 24 to 48 hours after exercise due to microtears in the muscle fibers. This is normal and to be expected, especially with weight training or when engaging in a new form of exercise. However, intense DOMS is not comfortable and can be a pain when trying to stay consistent with exercise. Cooling down after you work out will help minimize the DOMS effect.
4) Stress Relief: When exercise is slowed and the body is allowed to gradually come back to a state of homeostasis, we are more able to take full advantage of the euphoric relaxed effect that exercise has on the body. Take a few moments to stretch, breathe and reflect on your awesome workout! This will help you feel good and focussed when you enter back into the busyness of your life. The cool down really is a treat not to deprive yourself of. That’s why my favorite cool downs are feel-good flows that involve nice deep stretches and breathing. I hope you like this one!
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