A cool-down calms the body, may boost recovery, and serves as an ideal time to stretch. You may not need it though if in good health. Most informally cool-down by walking for some time after training anyway. In the long run it may make little or no difference, so experiment to decide its value.
While no system can possibly produce the best results in all cases, a logical approach to the matter will clearly indicate any slight changes that might be required in some individual cases.
– Arthur Jones
- Calm your body with any easy activity that uses lots of muscle for movement.
Brisk walking is the best option, just like for a warm-up. The increase in body temperature from exercise takes some time to return to normal. Walking will allow a gradual decrease in muscle temperature, blood flow, and heart rate instead of a plummet. This can prevent blood pooling in the limbs, dizziness, the accumulation of lactic acid, and cardiac arrhythmias.
- A cool-down may improve recovery.
It may facilitate the removal of by-products from fatigue and allow nutrients to arrive faster.
Some suggest using restorative methods such as ice, compression, and elevation as part of a cool-down. I would avoid them. These may hamper recovery by disrupting the beneficial inflammation that relies on blood flow limited by them.
NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen, upset the muscle-building process so avoid them too.
- Consider stretching.
This period is the ideal time for stretching to increase flexibility, since less vigorous stretching works best before the workout. Although some report stretching can reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), this remains anecdotal.
Consider a Cool-Down
The more strenuous the workout raises the heart rate, the more need for a cool-down. If you are otherwise in good health, you may not need it though. Perhaps just keep it basic and walk afterward for 3-5 minutes. This will calm you and allow you to transition back into everyday life and may carry some benefits.