You’re wrapping up an intense Zumba® class. You’ve sweat, shimmied, and rocked your way through reggaeton, hip-hop, salsa, and all your favorites. And now it’s time to cool down and breathe it out.
This part of your workout is just as important as the rest, so think twice before skipping it!
Joy Prouty, Director of Education for Programs and Trainings at the Zumba Home Office, says that a cool down period is essential in order to decrease exercise intensity safely.
“The cool down is a time to gradually lower the heart rate and blood pressure to near pre-exercise rates,” says Prouty.
According to the American Heart Association, if you stop suddenly after a workout, you’ll risk getting lightheaded – or worse, fainting – because your heart rate and blood pressure will drop so rapidly.
In addition, stretching can help you reduce the build-up of lactic acid, which will help you to feel less stiff and sore after a workout.
“The cool down is also a time to stretch all the major muscles used during the workouts,” Prouty further explains. “This will enhance flexibility and the range of motion of your joints.”
Generally, a cool down is between 4 to 6 minutes, although some instructors choose to make it a bit longer. And just because you’re nearing the end of your work out, the fun needn’t stop. While cool down music is usually a bit slower and softer in approach, it can still be super appealing. Just imagine slowing down to the sounds of Rihanna belting out ‘Love On The Brain’.
No better way to take a deep breath and thank yourself for the work you’ve just done.