Experts explain about recovery after exercise and whether the “warm down after a workout” has any sense.
“Everything depends on the intensity of your workout” – says Dr. John Halilvil of the Department of Physiology of Sport and Exercise at the University of Oregon.
If you are exhausted to the point that you could not speak after training, do not skip this step. But why?
When you exercise, your body pumps a huge amount of blood to the extremities. This increases the heart rate and dilate blood vessels so blood can easily reach the muscles.
With every contraction, muscle restores all the blood back to the heart. Physiologists call this the “second heart”. If you suddenly stop exercising, you turn off the “second heart”. The heart will continue to pump blood to the extremities, but there will be no help from “other heart” to recover the same amount.
Result: You feel dizzy and nausea and that may lead to fainting. Dr. Halilvil has seen such examples in his laboratory after respondents rode a bicycle at high-speed, then abruptly stopped.
“Warm down” after a workout prevents that from happening – it allows the cardiovascular system to gradually return to normal. On the other hand, if you keep the muscles active under low-intensity workout for a few minutes, than you will “wash” all byproducts of exercise, such as lactic acid.
The best technique for “warm down” after workout
After completion of hard training, take 5 to 10 minutes in which you repeat the same movements that you used during exercise, but with lower intensity. This includes walking and light stretching or dynamic as a step forward or parallel kneeling on one leg to another.