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What is the purpose of a 'cool down' afer a session?

+2 votes
I’ve noticed that, many exercise routines I've read includes a 'warm up' and 'cool down' period. I get what the warm up is about, preparing the muscles for the imminent punishment, but I can’t see what purpose does the cool down serves?

Surely you’d cool down quicker doing nothing and just going home after the gym? Or is that the purposes, to cool down slower but what does that achieve?
asked Nov 29, 2012 in Training Program by LanceR Gym Regular (750 points)  
20% Accept Rate

3 Answers

+2 votes

Intensive exercise affects your body in several different ways: your heart pumps faster, your lungs undergo an increased level of ventialtion, blood moves through your veins and arteries faster (and the veins/arteries dialate), your muscles contract more rapidly and frequently, your liver produces energy, etc. Giving these different systems time to "cool down" can be important for the resilience of their future functionality, and allows them to adjust to an upcoming rest state.

Pushing for that "burn" you feel in the muscle means you're approaching your lactate threshhold, and lactic acid has been pooling in your muscles. Your body will convert lactic acid back into energy to be burned, and cooling down slowly allows your body to do just that.  Stopping abruptly leaves this acid in the muscle, and creates waste products within such as CO2 and creatine kinase. 

Additionally, your body releases horomones such as norepinephrine and growth horomone while you exercise intensely, and stopping abruptly can leave a high level of these horomones in the blood causing sleeplessness/restlessness. 

answered Nov 29, 2012 by Form&FunctionChicago Gym Regular (525 points)  
edited Dec 4, 2012 by RobConnor
0 votes

To add on to the answer of Form&FunctionChicago cooldown (which consitutes ballistic and static stretching) aids in blood redistribution throughout the body. During a particaular workout, blood gets pooled in areas with muscle concentration, cooldown enables this 'pooled' blood to redistribute to other areas thus enabling the body to return to its default state.

answered Dec 2, 2012 by gohrkhan Gym Regular (710 points)  
0 votes


“Cool down” assist the body in returning to it pre workout or resting state, due to of all the physiological changes in the body that occurs during “warm up” and workout. These changes are all needed during our workouts. The Cool down is then crucial for future growth and muscle development, as it increases the ability for greater progress and quick recovery. This phase helps our body’s systems to gradually adjust, as it includes flexibility exercises that help return muscle fibres to their natural length and aid in further increased improvements in the fibres length. If the body is unable to “cool down” sufficiently from handling the stress placed on it by the workout, this can lead to a system collapse or slow down and progress with be stunted.

Cool down allows heart rate decline, opening up arteries that where shunted during workout and reduce the stress on organs. It is recommended that a “cool down” should be between 5-15 mins, with heart beat between 18-20 beats per second to assist in the blood shunt reversal.



answered Dec 7, 2012 by Gym Crazed Gym Novice (290 points)  
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