The body has arrived at the highest level of performance. An intense AMRAP of kettlebell snatches, burpees and thrusters is behind you. As it should be after a functional workout, you are completely on the ground at the end of the session, gasping for air for a few minutes, but you get a clear view of things again in the long term. So you overload your body for the moment, but without suffering any problems in the long run. In a modified form, a visit to the box looks like this for many of us. But haven't we forgotten something? The cooldown is missing!
Hated by many, adored by some, routinely ignored by almost everyone. You can now find out what effects an extended cooldown can have after a sweaty AMRAP and how you are guaranteed not to drop your heart rate back to a healthy normal level:
Disambiguation: what is the cooldown?
We all know what the point of a warm-up is and how (at least roughly) it should be done. At the beginning there is a look at the workout board. There we see which movements are required of us today. With that in mind, we warm up. The first goal is to non-specifically prepare the body for the coming stress. Short, only slightly strenuous units on a rower, assault bike, etc. are suitable for this. Afterwards, you also have to pay attention to a specific warm-up: That means, with high weights, you approach the working weight with warm-up sets, and you get blood flowing to the muscle groups that are particularly stressed body even stronger. After a few minutes, your circulation will be at operating temperature and can be used more intensively.
Cooldown as inverted warmup
The cooldown is similar: The goal of a cooldown is to remind the body that the strenuous time of the workout is now over. It makes sense to jog or set low intervals on the bike. You can then start with light stretching directly where it will most likely hurt tomorrow and the day after due to sore muscles. In this way you keep the blood flow in the stretched parts of the body without putting too much strain on them again.
Note: A cooldown is, to put it bluntly, a warmup in reverse. Similarly, you should set the intensity. Don't overwhelm your body, stay below your potential during the cooldown. You want your body to calm down, clear the high heart rate markers, and slow down the breathing rate. Otherwise, it feels like just before the next workout. But that's not the goal!
What is the benefit of a cooldown for athletes?
For us as athletes, it is particularly important to do as much as possible for our bodies in the shortest possible time. Time and money are always tight, so we have to be efficient. A cooldown is ideal for starting regeneration immediately after training. It not only puts the cardiovascular system back into its everyday rhythm, it also reduces the amount of sweat we sweat afterwards. post sweating? Sounds gross, but it's easy to explain. When we exercise, we cool ourselves with sweat. After all, the unit is exhausting. Without a decent cooldown, however, this stress level does not decrease adequately. That means your body is still pulsing at a high level. That's why you might still be sweating long after you've finished your Metcon of choice. The lack of cooldown is to blame!
Stay healthy? Cool down!
But a cooldown is also important for disease prevention. Are you familiar with the open window effect? With high stress, the concentration of white blood cells and natural killer cells increases sharply, but then flattens out again just as quickly. What remains is an "open window", a free path for pathogens. You can counteract the whole thing by providing yourself with warm clothing and a long shower. In this way you also get rid of the toxins and residues that remain on your skin through sweat.
From an emotional point of view, it is also important to calm down. If you don't set the cooldown properly, your heart rate will stay above normal for a long time. The consequence? You may react in a rushed manner. This state, in turn, makes you restless and persists for a while. The resulting stress not only destroys your rest after exercise, but also your long-term regeneration. "Exercising yourself" with low intensity not only helps the body, but also the mind.
In summary: Cooldown after the workout. How to?
Visualize again what you did in today's session. Realize how you would have warmed up. You can also use this guideline to start the cooldown. Low intensity, gentle stretching without fighting for more stretch. Breathing exercises help to find your way back into your body and into everyday life. Then it's off for you under the shower, off in new clothes and off to the fridge. If you're clever, you've hidden a FitAid there as a recovery bonus and personal reward. With a huge range of vitamins, including vitamins C, B12, E and D3, you do your body good in a tasteful way. When the FitAid comes out of the fridge, you drink your personal cooldown cocktail!