If you skip the cool-down after SoulCycle so you can be first in line at the showers — or if you tiptoe out of the yoga studio during savasana — you might be missing the final step of your workout.
“The purpose of the cool-down,” explains L.A.-based personal trainer Mike Donavanik, CSCS, “is to bring your heart rate down and get your body back into a resting state as efficiently as possible.”
But, how precious are those few minutes after your training session? Earlier research suggests that the cool-down might not be that important. And, according to Donavanik, if your activity for the day is on the easier side, you might be okay skipping the cool-down — unless you love it, in which case by all means keep it up.
But, there's a caveat. If you’re doing what Donavanik calls "high-intensity, balls-to-the-wall-type effort," you should definitely do a short cool-down. It can be as simple as walking for a few minutes with your hands gently clasped behind your head to open your chest. “One of the worst things you can do is come to a dead stop [after cardio] and immediately start stretching,” Donavanik explains. “Once the heart rate has normalized, then you can go into more specific and deep stretching activities.” So, chill it on the cool-down hate, okay?