After an intense personal training, a nice hot bath and jumping on the couch may seem like the best post-workout relaxation. Think again, because after that hardcore session of muscle gain exercises, there’s still one important thing to do – warm down. Contrary to popular belief, warming down is just as important as warming up. Without a personal trainer, most people take this important step for granted. Why warm down when you can just immediately get your rest? Here are two good reasons:
1. Helps flush out lactic acid
An intense muscle gain workout can lead to a buildup of lactic acid in your muscles. Lactate is produced throughout the day as your body breaks down glucose. While doing normal exercises, your muscle cells get enough oxygen to use energy from other sources. While in intense anaerobic workouts, demand for energy is high but oxygen levels are limited, lactate can accumulate to a point where it can no longer be re-absorbed and reused to create energy. Lactate changes to lactic acid that gives you that burning sensation in your muscles. Warming down will increase blood flow and flush the muscles of lactic acid, reducing the potential for soreness and stiffness.
2. Assists protein growth
Warming down speeds up the growth of new muscle-building protein during your recovery periods by flushing your muscles with nutrient-rich blood supplies. Stretching assists this process and helps elongate muscles. Weight training can shorten muscles fibres that over time can lead to poor posture. Avoid this by stretching.
How to Warm Down:
Part A. Easy-paced cardio work
After working out, do 5 minutes of any cardio exercise at an easy intensity. If your workout is cardio, use the same cardio equipment to warm down to target the same muscles you've just worked.
Part B. Stretching
Walk around for a couple of minutes and shake out your arms and legs. Perform stretches 3 times and hold each one for 10 seconds.