Cooling Down After Running

Not the right type of cooling down it would be nice in the summer though.

Cooling down after running is a session of light exercising which follows serious physical movement; it will generally include gentle cardiovascular workout and stretching activities.

The simple explanation: when you exercise, the heart pumps much more blood through the body than at rest. The rate of heart rate rises and veins that carry blood to the muscles dilate, allowing blood flow to flow.

While you are jogging, your muscles help pump blood back into your heart each time you contract – experts call it “second heart.”

But if you stop moving suddenly, interrupting the exercise, you “turn off” that “second heart.” Your heart will keep pumping a lot of blood out of it as if you were still training, but now without help to make it come back.

If you do the “cooling” – which is the opposite of “warming”, and therefore also called “cooling down” – you avoid this kind of problem. It helps keep the “second heart” active for a few moments until the blood flow is back to normal and the heart does not need help anymore.

It’s keeping the muscles active, to a lesser extent, after a heavy workout will make blood flow normalise bit by bit, not abruptly, which can help the body get rid of bad chemicals produced during exercise – such as lactic acid, for example.

“Cooling” can also help in transporting nutrients to muscle, speeding up the process of regenerating muscle fibres – the process that makes you grow. Ultimately, “cooling” can actually accelerate your muscle mass gain!

Cooling after running allows your heart rate to decrease gradually. Stretching your muscles not only helps prevent pain and damage, it also gives you time to congratulate you on having undergone a demanding workout.

No one fails to warm up before a race, since the practice is usually recommended and exalted by coaches and practitioners. The “cool down”, however, is often underestimated and even forgotten.

Sometimes you may be so excited about the workout that you forget to decelerate properly in sequence. You may be ready to move forward with your day, but there are several health benefits that result from this attitude. It’s the best way to protect your body for the next race and make the most of your effort.

If you’re a beginner runner, here are 3 simple rules for cooling off after the running:

Gradually weaken

If you have been running for an extended period of time, stopping suddenly is not good for your body. Instead, slow down slowly for five minutes in order to safely lower your heart rate. This will help prevent vertigo or leg pain later.

Do a stretch

Cooling time after a run is critical to increasing your flexibility as your muscles are warmed up. Be sure to do a very neat stretch to the calves, lower back, hips, and the anterior and posterior thigh muscles. These parts of your body have worked hard throughout the workout and deserve a little attention. If you can, lie on the floor and stretch your legs and back. A massage also goes well (ask your partner or spouse!).

Drink lots of water

After intense physical work, do not forget to replace all the liquids you have lost. Water helps prevent dehydration or dizziness. Whenever possible, opt for fresh or chilled water, but do not swallow everything at once. Spacing between gulps will help replenish more quickly.

Cooling down after running is important as we know, especially important if you have heart disease but if your not having the proper cool down then some injuries you can get like Heart Arrhythmia’s, Dizziness, Misconceptions etc. After the running, cooling allowing your body to remove lactic acid from the muscles, a metabolic product that builds up in muscles after exercise. Gradual reduction of efforts (cooling) also helps prevent dizziness. When the exercise is suddenly interrupted, the blood accumulates in the lower limbs and does not arrive in sufficient quantity to the brain, causing dizziness. Cooling is also important to assist in normalising blood pressure and in gradually relaxing the body structures involved in the exercise. The characteristics of the cooling are similar to those of heating, with total body exercises being prioritised and with an average duration of five to 10 minutes.

Cooling is instrumental in preventing injuries just like warming up; stopping an activity without cooling will contribute to a build up of toxic substances and lactic acid, which will cause muscle pain and stiffness the following day; this can limit movement and be very painful. Blood delivered to the muscles to facilitate rapid contraction will also build if a cool down is not complete; this is commonly known as blood pooling. It is also important to include liquids and to recharge energy reserves with a carbohydrate-rich meal after the exercise.

Other effects of warming include increased body metabolism, increased heart rate, increased transport and consumption of oxygen and other substances, increased speed of nerve conduction and muscle contraction. The ideal interval between the end of the warm-up and the beginning of the activity is five to 10 minutes. The heating effect lasts from 20 to 30 minutes. After 45 minutes, the body temperature has already resumed its resting temperature. Also as a warming effect, there is an activation in the structures of the central nervous system, consequently improving alertness, thus favouring technical learning, coordination capacity and accuracy of movements, essential requirements in the training of an athlete. In addition, there is an adrenaline release, decreases blood viscosity, increases enzyme activity and increases energy production by increasing glycogen metabolism.

Elevated muscle temperature increases your flexibility, allowing muscles to contract faster when compared to cold muscles. Blood flow should increase substantially to protect muscles from injury during exercise.

Cooling after running allows your heart rate to decrease gradually. Walk for about 5 minutes, or until your heart rate gets below 120 beats per minute. Stretching your muscles not only helps prevent pain and damage, it also gives you time to congratulate you on having undergone a demanding workout. According to exercise scientist and Professor Michele Olsen in an interview with Shape.com, static stretching before a race can cause muscle tension, so save those stretches for later, when the muscles warm up.

Here are some Cooling exercises after the running:

Walks

Make the transition from jogging to stretching with a gentle jog and then a walk. The amount of time it takes to cool off depends on the length and intensity of your run – after a half-hour jog, you slow down for three to five minutes. After a difficult race, it cools down for five to ten minutes. If you run outdoors, you can choose to do stride exercises to cool you down. Workouts include lifting your high knees with each step, kicking your feet toward your buttocks with each step and moving your arms up while you jump. Perform each exercise two to four times at least 55 yards (50 metres).

Quadriceps and Corvus

After having gone from running to walking, he does static stretching with his legs. To stretch the quadriceps, the large muscles in the front of the thighs, knees with your knees at the height of the hips and hands at the sides. Bend back as far as you can and stay that way for five seconds. To stretch your hips, lie on the floor with your knees bent. Stretch your leg in the air and grab the ball of your foot with both hands. Hold for five to 10 seconds, pulling your foot closer to you if you need a deeper stretch.

Upper part of the body

Put your hands behind your back, stretch your arms and raise your chest. Bend your waist forward, keeping your arms and legs straight. Lift your hands behind the upper back, which pushes the chest forward. Lean forward on your legs, imagining that your forehead touches your chin. Let your arms fall to the top of your head, with your hands still entwined. Stand up, release your hands and walk with ease, turning your arms in circles back and forth. Stretch one arm over your chest with your outstretched hand and hold the forearm of the other hand in place for five seconds. Repeat with the other arm.

Calves and Ankles

Release your calf muscles by standing with your toes on a step or bench for aerobic exercise. Let your heels hang off the step so they are lower than the tips of your feet. You will feel the stretch all the way through your legs. Lift your feet up to the toes. Slowly lower back down so your heels hang off the step again. Do this stretch as many times as necessary to sufficiently relax your calves. To stretch your ankles, sit straight with your legs extended in front of you. Lift one leg 3 inches and point your toes out. Slowly circle the ankle to the right and then to the left. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

As a general rule to follow, each stretch should last between 15 and 30 seconds, doing a couple of repetitions. This way, your table of stretching and cooling exercises will be more effective, and your muscles will appreciate it.

What do you do to cool down please let me know in the comments below.

20 thoughts on “Cooling Down After Running”

  1. James

    After a workout for my age, 74 is a drink of water at room temperature and a few minutes of walking, Cold drinks would send my body into shocks. After about 10 minutes, I let the breeze cool me down sitting on the deck at home. After an hour of enjoying the breeze, I shower and get back to life again.

    Garry

    1. That sounds like the perfect cool down that I would love to do every day, It is a very valid point tho you have to do what is comfortable for your body taking in to account you age. If you do have any concerns about what your body can handle with any type of exercise please consult your doctor.
      Thanks for the comment 🙂

  2. I live in a place that gets relatively cold in the winter, and hot in the summer. This is why cooling down or warming up are both very important for me when I go running. Since for me right now it is the beginning of summer I can’t wait to give these tips a try, always feel exhausted after my workouts, hopefully, this will help me. Great post, thanks for sharing.

  3. Very good post to me. I did not really know that your heart gets blood pumped back more than normal when running. It makes sense. Especially the fact that you should cool down and let your body adjust back to normal operation. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for the comment. The harder your body works the more oxygen it needs so more blood has to be pumped around the body.

  4. Awesome post about running!! I especially like how you focused on the importance of drinking water. With all the sports-drink crazes out there people need to know how wonderful plain, filtered water is for their health. Great stuff about targeting muscle groups for the cool-down too. I loved it!!

  5. Excellent post on a very critical subject. I believe the cool-down is just as important as the exercise itself. I especially like how you targeted specific muscle groups for the cool-down process. Also, I liked how you focused on the importance of hydration through water. With all the hype about sports drinks people need to know how much better plain, filtered water is for their health. Great stuff!!

    1. Thanks you finally some who understands that cool downs are as important as warm ups. I can retire now lol, just kidding.

      Thanks again

  6. I use to be quite an active sports man when i was younger and i was taught the importance of cooling down gradually after exercise, this needs to be stressed in training just as much as the heavy effort. You have covered this very well and any active athlete needs to learn this, Excellent post.

    1. Thanks for the praise of the article so many people think that the cool down is not important or they are just to tired to do a full cooldown . Thanks for the comments

  7. Hey man, thanks for this great, interesting and very informative article. Those really are somme good tips. I often like to hop in the ocean after a run.

  8. Sound slike cooling down after running is just as importan as a deep sea diver gradually comming back to the surface, to preven the Bends.

  9. After running I do stretching but I don’t know which stretching style would be the best. Do you have any recommendation other than lying on the floor? I run outside and I just can’t do that.

    1. After a running session you are always best with static stretches and a little bit of light cardio to slow your heart rate down. Thanks for the comments

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