Heart Choices: Fitness Friday ~ Cool Down -->

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Fitness Friday ~ Cool Down

It's Fitness Friday today and I want to talk about ...cool down.

When you heard the term cool down, did you think of relaxing in your favorite lawn chair in front of the ocean? Doesn't that scene above look awesome and inviting? Living in Phoenix it feels like it's already been summer for a while. (Sigh) ... a girl can dream of being by the ocean, can't she?

Just so you know, when I say cool down I'm referring to the period at the end of your exercise session. It's a very important component in exercising and one that's often skipped by many. Often people don't take the time or they don't realize how important it is.

So, let's get back to Fitness Friday business, OK?

Maybe this photo won't be so distracting and get us (me) back on track. Did it work?

Let me put on my nurses' cap for a moment. Yeah, when I went to nursing school, we actually had to wear those white caps (along with white hose and uniforms; yuck!).

When you exercise the goal is to get your heart rate elevated for a period of time (20-40 minutes). If you suddenly put on the brakes and stop, there are a few things that can happen, depending on how conditioned you are.

Your blood pressure can drop suddenly causing you to become dizzy, nauseous or possibly even faint. Believe me, I've seen it happen too many times. It's so easy to avoid this too.

All you have to do is to simply end your workout by slowing down your pace for the last 3-5 minutes.

  • If you've been walking rapidly, slow down to an easy pace at the end.
  • If you've been bike riding, slow down at the end and pedal easily.

This allows your heart rate and blood pressure to return to normal before you stop. And it helps to prevent you from getting injured too.

I mentioned on another Fitness Friday post about the importance of stretching. I won't review that now but you can always click here and read all about it. At the end of your workout and cool down, it's a great time to stretch.

One more thing ...don't forget to replenish yourself with lots of fluids throughout your workout and particularly during your cool down period. It's easier to do when you're not bouncing or running. During the summer when it's hot you tend to sweat more so that means ...more water.

Keep hydrating yourself throughout the day and not just during exercise.

By including a cool down time:

  • You're going to feel better
  • Replace fluids lost during your workout
  • Help prevent muscle soreness

So why not add those important 5 minutes to your exercise? You'll be glad you did.

Now, don't forget to hop over to Sandy's blog at God Speaks Today. She's our host of Fitness Friday and I think other bloggers are starting to join us on a weekly basis.
Debbie Petras
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  1. After we are cooling our body and soul, certainly we are going to feel better!

  2. I absolutely agree with you Debbie.

    I popped in quick. I'll be offline for several hours and I'll do my Fitness message later and visit with Sandy and others.

    Love ya!

  3. Very good tips my friend. I am one of those who actually "like" working out and exercising. I know that hydration, stretching and cooling down are VERY important! Keep it up!
    Happy Friday to you my friend.

  4. Thanks for this reminder. When I do my treadmill I slow it down for the last few minutes then do some stretching afterwards.

  5. Debbie,

    Such a sweet note. Thanks for the encouragement and rejoicing with us. I just began this blogin’ adventure a month ago, but truly am deligted to meet you . I’m following now, so I get to see a bit more of your heart!

    Hugs for your day,
    Sarah Dawn

  6. As a dance teacher it has always been important to warm down my students. I usually use a slow foxtrot or a casual rumba. Doing so helps to prevent lactic acid building up in the muscles (this is the stuff that can make your muscles ache the next day if it hardens). And of course, as you mentioned, it is important to sip on water throughout your dancing.

  7. Great post. This is something I struggle to do. I tend to get right to business and then stop abruptly. I would probably be a whole lot less sore if I would cool down and stretch.

    Thanks for reminder!

  8. Thank you for reminding us to cool down and drink lots of H2O. I went on a bike ride today and had relaxing times but also cardio times...plus a walk in the middle of it. I'm drinking more water and hoping to get rid of my winter fluff soon. You are such an encouragement!
    Have a great weekend.

  9. Oh, Debbie... thank you so much for the explanation. I have thought of this "cool down" last night after doing my exercise. I felt like "what's the point of this?"... if I go take a shower after the training, or maybe sit & read a little then that's "cool down" too...I think, I'm wrong...thanks for clarifying that in your post:))
    as always, thanks for the generous post:))

  10. Dear Debbie,
    I'm all for cooling down..
    When the hiker girls have climbed a somewhat steep hill, we'll not push ourselves forwards, but gather and chat for a while, talking sips of water. We may be out for some hours. We always bring coffee/tea, bread and fruit along and make a good social stop midways.
    To me that's half the fun.
    We even read poetry or sing in between.
    Not your usual work out class, I guess, but for elder ladies with time I can recommend it.

    About your advise wright down what you're eating; I'm still following it. Believe it or not, some summer skirts and trousers literally fell off me when I tried them on some weeks ago!

    I'm proud and happy. Best thing I ever done considering weight control.
    Thank you so much.
    From Felisol

  11. It is hard to cool down here in Phoenix! Just kidding - good info.

  12. I LOVE the cool down part of exercise. It's my favorite part.

    Great post, as always. And yes...being by the ocean does look very inviting. I AM by the ocean as we speak.



  13. I'm bad about not cooling down after intense physical exercise, such as playing tennis, then taking about 5 minutes to cool down while picking up the balls around the court, then jumping into my vehicle to go home. It is important in preventing the muscles from being strained or injured before the next time you have to exert them.

    ~ Kristi


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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