Question: Sometimes I feel like just skipping the cool down....but I figure that because you always do it, it must be important.
Answer: You are right. The cool down is important. It is designed to allow your heart rate to gradually decrease after aerobic exercise. This procedure is important for the health of your heart and will also actively stretch some of the muscles used during exercise.
Following an aerobic workout, whether it is walking, running or high or low impact aerobics, it is necessary to continue working aerobically at a significantly reduced level to allow your heart rate to come down slowly. This is what is known as the Aerobic Cool-down. It should be followed by the General Cool-down, which stretches the major muscle groups. The General Cool-down will help your muscles recover faster and help you avoid soreness after exercising. No workout is complete until after you have done your cool-down.
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