The Importance of a Cool Down

March 20, 2023

People often ask me after I teach a class or do a workout “why do you stay and stretch for ten-fifteen minutes afterwards? Didn’t you already work out?”  It surprises me when I see people just leave a class (especially an aerobics class) to leave and walk right out into the cold or snow. Truly, that is not good for your muscles, and here is why.



The importance of a cool down is greatly emphasized in all structured forms of fitness. In Zumba, it happens as the last song, which is slow and easy-often a bachata. In yoga it is stretches on the back followed by resting pose. And in Pilates we often take about five minutes to stretch at the end of class. But even though all these forms already have a built in cool down, your body can benefit from a longer cool down and stretches after that.




To just take a moment and stretch and breath after any workout is good for the mind as well as the muscles. “It is an opportunity for you to reduce your intensity, bring down your heart rate, and relax your muscles from working out in a tensed state.” (From Verywell Fit by Jennifer Purdie) So, it is beneficial to your heart, your muscles, and your body as a whole. If you walk out into the cold weather right immediately after working out intently, your muscles will tense up right away due to the cold weather, which could result in injury. In addition, when you work out, your body temperature is higher, and your heart rate is faster. If you stop too quickly without a cool down, this could cause you to feel sick or pass out.




Cool downs for yourself could be a simple stretch such as straddles or pikes to quad stretch and calf stretches. A cool down could also consist of slow movements such as moving your body side to side or your hands up and down.  Whatever you choose make sure you perform for at least five minutes after a workout, and I guarantee you will feel so much better!

The Author

Jamie Horban

Jamie Horban, B.A. is a Degreed Dance Professional, Certified Pilates Instructor, and a Certified Yoga Instructor. She has her Bachelors of Science in Dance & Film from Northwestern University. Horban graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in dance and film. She has since traveled around the country choreographing and teaching dance and fitness in several states and cities including Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, LA, and Denver. She currently teaches all levels of ballet, jazz, modern, musical theater, poms, hip hop, and tap. She also has experience teaching salsa, swing, Line dance, acro, Bollywood, Polish dance, disco, belly dance, Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, silver sneakers, Polish Dance, Argentinian tango, as well as many others. She has worked for several companies across the United States including but not limited to Lyric opera of Chicago, Atlanta ballet, Northlight theater, Watertown children’s theater, Jean and Ryan productions, boulder fringe Festival, 24-hour fitness, golds gym, Dance 411, Dance Chicago, Interlochen Arts, and many others. She has a non for profit in the state of Illinois called SoleStance that produces arts/cultural related shows.

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