Why Cool Downs?
Almost every amateur or professional athlete, weekend warrior or sports enthusiast can tell you about the importance of proper warm ups. Even if they themselves do not always take the time to do it, they are at least aware that they should. Warm ups are important. They allow the body to stretch and prepare for the challenges ahead. They are a safe, reliable way to reduce the chances of a serious injury, such as groin pulls and torn tendons. We hear much less about proper cool down periods following exertion. Perhaps we should though. There is a growing body of evidence that cool down periods can also help the body recover faster and may prevent some forms of injury.
During intense workout sessions the body is busy supplying oxygen, tearing down muscle fibers, along with a whole host of other important biological processes. Whereas the focus of warm-ups is to increase blood flow to muscles and heartrate to prep them for the oncoming challenges, cool downs allow the body to transition more safely to the original resting or semi-resting state. Body core temperatures will begin to fall, the heart rate gradually decreases and muscle fibers begin to relax and heal.
Warm up to Prepare: Cool Down to Repair
One of the biggest benefits of a slow cool down is that it allows the body to start throwing off lactic acid and other waste byproducts. If you remember your high school biology class, you may have heard of something called the Kreb’s cycle. In a nutshell, the Kreb’s cycle is a complex chain reaction that changes the way the cells are powered, caused when oxygen demands begin to outstrip oxygen input. In other words, you become short of breath. The cells, which still have to function, switch gears. Lactic acid buildup is the result.
A cool down helps your body flush this excess toxic buildup. Walking after running, for instance, or a gradual slowdown of less and less intensity allows the body to adjust and recover. Blood that has been delivered to meet the temporary crisis of intense demands can now begin to return to normal.
Stopping abruptly, on the other hand, can lead to blood pooling, muscle and joint stiffness and pain. Another important cool down strategy is to immediately replenish fluids and electrolytes. Drinking coconut water, for instance, helps the body rebalance and adjust to the healing process that kicks into gear after a workout.
If you are looking for a sports medicine specialist on the leading edge of sports injury treatment in the
Clinton Township area, then look to Dr. Jeffrey Carroll at Movement Orthopedics. Dr. Carroll has the advanced training and specialized experience you need to get to and stay at, the top of your game, both on the field of glory, and in the game of life. Please call us today at (586) 436-3785 or request an appointment online.