It’s quite simple to dismiss the cool down after your lifting and to stretch as a complete waste of time. However, you should know that cooling down is a recommended phase in most athletic activities. Cooling down doesn’t necessarily mean doing nothing, but rather engaging in light exercises such as biking or rowing at a steady pace. Research shows that cooling down after a CrossFit workout is as important as doing a warmup in preparation for an exercise.
Benefits of a Cool Down
One of the things you must appreciate is that cooling down is not the same as active recovery. It comprises certain post-WOD actions taken immediately following a workout while you are still at the gym. On the other hand, active recovery means what you do to recover from your workout when you get back home or a day after your CrossFit workout.
During training, metabolic waste products are produced through the chemical processes in the body, and these products find their way to individual muscle cells. To keep you in good shape, the fluid surrounding these cells as well as the veins, capillaries, and lungs should be flushed out before you get into a resting period.
The main goal of cooling down is to enhance recovery and return your body to the state it was before the workout. In a strenuous workout, the body system endures several stressful processes which cause tendons, muscle fibers, and ligaments to get damaged and waste products to build up in your system. Through a cool down, your body repair processes can run smoothly.
Eases the Effects of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Delayed onset muscle soreness abbreviated as DOMS, is one of the common side effects of intense workouts. It begins about 8 to 24 hours following the exercise and 24 to 72 hours later; it may produce a lot of pain. Among the symptoms of DOMS include swelling and stiffness of muscles as well as pain.
Technically, you cannot avoid DOMS completely, but you can soften its blow by cooling down following your CrossFit training. The best means to do this is to get into a low-intensity exercise to enhance the clearance of all the enzymes responsible for residual fatigue and muscle damage.
The best time to work on your flexibility is usually after your CrossFit workout. It is advisable to do it as part of your cooldown because, during this time, your muscles are most pliable and warm. This makes stretching much easier, and you will be surprised at the new levels of flexibility you can reach. You can also take this opportunity to engage your myofascial release so that you can stay on top of the fascia. When left unattended, fascia can cause knots which interfere with your mobility and posture.
The key stages to follow in any cool down include a gentle exercise, stretching, and refueling. The main goal of the exercise is to bring your heart rate to its resting level. On the other hand, the stretching is to enhance your flexibility over time, and this can help prevent injuries. Lastly, the role of CrossFit diet in refueling cannot be underestimated. It helps in feeding the hungry muscles.