Why is it Import to Cool Down?
A cool-down reduces blood pooling (when blood collects in one area) in the legs. During walking and cycling, blood flow to the muscles in your legs increases. If the extra blood in the legs is not returned to the upper body in a balanced way, blood will pool in the legs.
Your leg veins are next to the muscles in your leg. When you exercise, your leg muscles alternately contract and expand, pressing against the leg veins. The movements of the muscles help move the blood through the veins and back to the heart.
- If you stop exercising suddenly, your leg muscles no longer help move blood back to the heart. This means that the amount of blood flowing into the legs is greater than the amount of blood flowing back to the heart, and the blood begins to pool in the legs.
- With less blood returning to the heart than leaving it, there is less blood to fill the heart and less blood for the heart to pump out. The reduced blood flow to the heart and head could cause you to experience angina, skipped beats, or light-headedness.
During a cool-down, the leg muscles continue to move and to help pump blood back to the heart. This reduces blood pooling in the legs. Because blood flow to the heart and head has been maintained, you are less likely to experience problems.
How Do I Cool Down?
Your cool-down can be the same type of exercise you do to train your heart and lungs. If you are walking for your exercise, then your cool-down can be walking. If you are cycling for your exercise, then you can cool down on the bicycle.
Follow these tips to make sure you cool down safely.
- Cool down for at least 5 minutes.
- Cool down at a lower intensity or speed than your prescribed exercise.
- If you walk for your exercise, cool down by walking at a slower pace for at least 5 minutes.
- If you exercise on a bicycle, cool down by cycling at a slow pedal speed with little or no resistance for at least 5 minutes.