Fitness Articles

Reference Guide to Cooling Down

An In-Depth Look at the Cool Down

How to Cool Down
When cooling down, keep the FITT Principles (Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type) in mind.
  • Frequency: How often you should cool down
    A proper cool down should be done after any exercise session or physical activity, whether it is a cardio or strength training workout.
  • Intensity: How intensely you should cool down
    Cool down with a low intensity exercise after a vigorous workout. Continue your chosen exercise (or a different one) while gradually slowing its intensity and/or speed. Gradually slowing down the pace and exertion of your activity over several minutes can seem a natural progression, as well as fulfilling the need to include a cool down at the end of your exercise. Another option is to jog or walk briskly for a few minutes after your exercise, making sure that this activity is lower in intensity than the exercise you have just performed.
  • Time: How long your cool down should last
    A 10 to 15 minute cool down should be sufficient to allow your heart rate and breathing to return to normal. After exercise or strenuous physical activity, it is important to decrease your body temperature gradually until lowers back to normal.
  • Type: What activities are suitable for cooling down?
    See “Examples of Cool Down Activities” above. The cool down can be a lower intensity version of the workout you just did, or it can be a completely different exercise. As long as it slowly lowers your heart rate and breathing, and involves the muscles you just worked, it is considered a proper cool down.

    The best time to stretch is after your cool-down, since your muscles are still warm and most likely to respond favorably, and there is a low risk of injury.

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About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

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