A great workout will give you a burst of energy and loads of feel-good endorphins, but it goes hand-in-hand with a proper cooldown. In a busy, fast-paced, and high-stress world, sometimes we can barely squeeze in that workout, let alone a cooldown!
Related: Cardio Cooldown Stretches
The reality is, a cooldown is more than a complement to your workout; it's imperative not just for your body, but for your brain, too. San Francisco-based trainer Caroline Jordan believes your cooldown is "vital" and "just as important as your workout."
A sudden stop in physical activity without a cooldown can pool blood, shock muscles, drop your blood pressure suddenly, and leave you feeling dizzy — not a great way to end a great workout, right? And leaving the gym without cooling down can leave you in a bad mental space, and not just from the physical effects. In a sweat sesh, your body releases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, and without the cooldown, you'll have a hard time properly returning to a balanced, relaxed state.
Related: How to Cool Down After Any Workout
"Even if you have a great workout, without the cooldown, you might feel more anxious, stressed, or on edge throughout your day," said Jordan. And feeling stressed after you leave the gym will only lead you to associate working out with feeling bad, which won't leave you very likely to return.
What's worse is that skipping your cooldown can get in the way of your weight-loss goals. Jordan reminded us that "excess cortisol in your body slows your metabolism, hurts your weight goals, and keeps you up at night, in addition to many other negative side effects."
So do yourself a favor, and don't skip your stretches, your Savasana, or your foam rolling: cool down, work off the cortisol, and keep feeling good after your workouts — you'll continue to love the gym.
Related: Easy Hamstring Stretches