Recent research suggests a post-exercise cool down has scant effect on preventing muscle soreness. The take away message — don’t bother cooling down — is outrageous if not sacrilegious to many of us, after all, common sense correctly tells us to not end exercise abruptly. But of the take away to this emerging science, lets peel a layer or two since its premise is faulty for being shallow.
For one, the (temporary) soreness that can accompany exercise ought to be welcomed since micro tears to muscles that actually catalyze tissue strengthening induce it. Net/net, embrace soreness for the muscular gain it is signaling!
Further, a cool down offers benefit that transcends physiological consideration. A few minutes of walking after cardio or weights gets the attention of your motivation by recognizing the achievement of completing your workout, or relishing any personal benchmarks or the satisfaction of having done a new activity.
Considering exercise’s unique and profound impact on our wellbeing, each completed workout bears celebration as a stand-alone, and for how celebration sustains our motivation to do the same tomorrow, and many tomorrows after.
Repurpose your cool down by using it to bask in your achievement, and then welcome the soreness that’s about to make your quads sing.