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Contemplating The Cool-Down

Posted Nov 16 2009 10:01pm

After a 50 minute heart-pounding, muscle contracting, maximal exertion giving personal training session - what do most of my clients do when they hear,

'Great job today, you are done!'

Usually they say, 'Thank G-d' and bolt to the locker room before I can ask them to do anything else.

So what ever happens to their cool-down?

It gets skipped.

It not only gets skipped with recreational athletes and exercisers, but also with researchers.

Overall the cool-down is a very understudied topic. 

But in an October 2009 New York Times article, the contributing experts all but refuted the cool-down as being necessary stating:

1 . It does not prevent soreness by eliminating lactic acid

2 . No data supports that it aids with muscle tightness either

The aspect of the cool-down that was agreed upon was how it can  prevent/decrease the risk of suddenly stopping intense exercise

Stopping suddenly can cause an individual to become dizzy, even pass out, and can be deleterious for someone with heart disease.

Does this article's position mean that you should not cool-down anymore?

Absolutely not.

I think everyone should cool-down after a workout for two main reasons:

1. Return the mind/body to resting state - lower heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing similar to that of savasana in yoga.

2. Restore the length of your muscles - which were contracting and shortening during the workout, this will help prevent future injury. 

So no more contemplating the cool-down, there is no harm and only benefit that can come from it...

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