Why You Should Always Cool Down

Why You Should Always Cool Down

It is common knowledge that cooling down after a training ride or cycling event is a best practice. However, time crunched cycling athletes often skip the cool down. We get it. You have a busy schedule and are trying to fit training into a tsunami of work, family, social and life appointments. However, skipping the cool down is not a good idea. Why? What are the consequences if you don’t cool down?

The purpose of the cool down is to slowly bring your heart rate, respiration and body temperature back to normal and spin excess metabolic waste products out of your muscles. Cooling down helps you recover from training more quickly.  It also helps you avoid dizziness and reduce the amount of blood pooling in your major muscle groups.  The harder the workout, the more important it is to cool down.

Think of it like this; if your body is a car traveling at 50 miles per hour, what is more comfortable as you approach a stop sign?  You can slam on the brakes with a few feet to go and skid to a jarring stop and experience whiplash, or you can gradually apply the brakes well in advance and come to a gentle stop, ready to hit the accelerator again.

We all have romantic images of the runner or rider giving it their all, crossing the finish line and then collapsing into a heap completely exhausted as a kind volunteer wraps them in a space blanket.  The reality is quite different.  Not cooling down properly after a hard workout can give you flu like symptoms including fever, chills and nausea!  That’s why you see cyclists like Chris Froome riding a trainer after winning a Stage of the Tour De France as he waits for the podium ceremony.      

What is the best way to cool down for cycling?  According to coach Kadir, you should pedal at a high cadence of 80-90 RPM in a low gear that is very easy to spin.  You should do this for 10-15 minutes. Older athletes generally need a little longer to cool down. This technique gently decreases your heart rate, respiration and temperature. Also, it has been shown that spinning is a low gear is the most efficient way to clear metabolic waste products from your muscles.   All VeloPro dynamic and personalized workouts include a cool down interval.