If you went to gym class you grew up believing the body required a cool down after a cardio workout. The talking heads told us that stretching or otherwise transitioning out of physical activity would prevent muscle soreness and speed recovery. Is it true? The answer may surprise you.
Is a Post-Cardio Cool Down Really Worth It?
For years, popular opinion has touted the idea that post-cardio cool downs were a necessity but under scientific scrutiny studies now show that cool downs have little to no impact on next day muscle soreness or recovery. In fact, it’s thought that a warm-up (yes, you read that right) is more important to recovery than a cool down.
That being said, even if cool downs won’t keep you from hobbling around after a long run, post-cardio cool downs still have a place in any workout routine.
Don’t Skip That Post-Cardio Cool Down Just Yet
A hard core cardio workout gets your blood pumping vigorously. Bring that workout to a sudden halt, without cooling down, and you’re likely to feel dizzy and nauseous. Cool downs allow blood to gradually return from the extremities to the heart, helping you avoid passing out in front of all your workout pals. Not passing out is always a good thing.
Trade the Cool Down for a Warm-Up
If you really want to boost recovery and avoid muscle stiffness consider a dynamic warm-up. A "dynamic" warm-up means you’re moving as you stretch. Proven to increase prep muscles for activity, increase range of motion, and heighten body awareness, dynamic warm-ups are the perfect complement to any cardio routine.
Not sure where to start? Check out this five-minute, full body, dynamic warm-up routine.
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